Thief of Time (Discworld #26)

Title: Thief of Time

Author: Terry Pratchett

Series: Discworld #26

Once, a man named Wen sought enlightenment, and found Time. Once, Time fell in love with a mortal.

Lobsang Ludd is an apprentice to the History Monks, the order founded by Wen to keep Time more or less in order. But the Monks are facing their biggest crisis yet. Someone is reconstructing a clock that can stop time itself. And it may be up to Lobsang and his eccentric mentor, the famous Lu-tze (who seems to be nothing more than a crazy old sweeper) to stop it.

This is my favorite Discworld book. There’s an order of warrior monks who mix old kung-fu movies with quantum physics. There’s the madness of someone like Jeremy, who is so sane he’s gone out the other side (with attendant Igor to help him build a most unusual doomsday device). There’s Death, preparing for the latest Apocalypse, and finding that his fellow Horsemen have rather lost their touch. And of course Death’s granddaughter Susan, a ruthlessly sensible grade school teacher who applies the skills gained battling elementary school students against forces that will end the world.

And it all WORKS. Beautifully.

This is Pratchett at his best—loaded with common sense as well as the humor, willing to say the obvious things no one says out loud, and pointing out that sometimes the most highest and secret wisdom was right in front of us all along. He’s got a way of peeling back the foibles of humanity, but underneath it all there’s a fierce love of what makes humans human. Like Lady Myria LeJean, who is discovering all the things that can’t be measured or explained.

It’s also interesting because Time had a son, we learn early on, but there are two strong candidates for who it might be: Lobsang Ludd, the apprentice with amazing skills slicing Time, or Jeremy Clockson, the only clockmaker attenuated to Time well enough to build a truly accurate clock. And the actual answer is a nice surprise.

Also, the climatic battle is basically a chocolate war, which is another thing I love about the book. Fine chocolates ARE deadly weapons.

Overall, this book works on so many different levels. I keep meaning to pull quotes for my file but I’d end up pulling most of the book, as it only seems to take a few sentences to get to something else that cracks me up.

If you’ve never read anything by Terry Pratchett, or just missed this one, give this book a try. The Discworld books are all basically standalone novels that loosely hook into the larger Discworld universe. I rate this Highly Recommended.

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