Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Last Hero - by Terry Pratchett

The Last HeroThe Last Hero is Terry Pratchett's 27th Discworld novel and it's been published as a graphic novel, fully illustrated by Paul Kidby. It features a couple of characters that were introduced in the very first Discworld story - Rincewind and Cohen the Barbarian.
Legendary Discworld warrior Cohen the Barbarian is getting on a bit. He's been there and done it all, seeing most of his old friends pass away into obscurity and, now the current ruler of the Agatean Empire, he is unhappy with his Gods. He doesn't like the way they let men grow old and die so now he and his band are heading for Dunmanifestin, the home of the Gods, with the intention of giving them back something that mankind stole from them long ago - fire!

Trouble is he wants to do it with a 50lb keg of Agatean Thunder Clay and, given that the Gods live on top of Cori Celesti, the highest mountain on the Disc and the hub of the world's magic field, the explosion will result in the magic field collapsing. Unfortunately, the Discworld needs magic to exist - the turtle and the elephants holding it all up could very well just vanish.

Cohen and his Silver Horde may want to go out with a bang but it's a bang that could destroy the world. So, Lord Vetinari and the Magicians of Ankh Morporkh send gather their finest, or in this case, Leonard of Quirm, Rincewind and Captain Carrot, to go on a mission to try and stop them.

It was nice see Rincewind and Cohen back in a Discworld tale, even if it is a fairly short story. Pratchett's wit and humour are up to their usual par and there are some very funny moments in there. Also back in the frame are the Silver Horde, who made an appearance in Interesting Times, but they're minus Old Vincent, who has passed on. So Ghenghiz Cohen, accompanied by Truckle the Uncivil, Boy Willie, Caleb the Ripper and Mad Hamish, is on a kami-kazi run to give the Gods a bit of his mind (and body).

On the other side, we've got Lord Vetinari and the wizards of Unseen University, who've somehow got wind of his scheme and obviously want to put a dampener on it. Without going in to much detail, they choose Leonard of Quirm to build and pilot a device that will enable them to catch up with Cohen, Captain Carrot for some muscle and Rincewind as he's been in so many scrapes and is still alive they reckon he must have some serious luck on his sideand they're going to need it this time.

Then there the Gods, who're watching all of these goings on with some amusement. And there's Evil Harry Dread, the stock Dark Lord of the tale, who accompanies Cohen's band but really can't act out of his mould for very long. There's The Code to be followed you know!

It's actually quite a funny story and the book is fleshed out with a fair number of illustrations by Discworld artwork regular Paul Kidby, which helps make it last a wee bit longer.

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-575-08196-3
My Rating: 7/10


The Book Fiend said...

Beautiful artwork and a decent enough story (with Pratchett's usual wit and flair), but not the best of the Discworld books. Still, a must-have for Pratchett fans.

=Tamar said...

The paperback has 8 more pages of pictures, but some of the originals are slightly different - so you really need both!