Newsletter: Bumsted Picks of 2015: Jack's Pick

Monday Nov 30 2015
by Whodunit

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

(HC, $32.00)

 Terry Pratchett (sorry: SIR Terry Pratchett) died earlier this year. A literary one-off, he singlehandedly lifted fantasy out of the closet where one kept the books that one could not admit to owning and made it not only respectable, but best-selling. The Shepherd’s Crown is the final book Pratchett wrote, and completes the young adult series starring Tiffany Aching, witch in training. The book opens with the death of Granny Weatherwax, one of the most endearing characters in the fictional universe of the Discworld, Pratchett’s most brilliant creation. To many people’s surprise, 13-year old Tiffany is designated by Granny as her successor, and the book chronicles Tiffany’s struggles to live up to Granny’s expectations, with the aid of the Wee Free Men and a variety of others – some old characters from previous novels and some new creations –culminating in a pitched battle with a legion of fairies, who are handily defeated. My favourite newbie was a young man whose ambition was to become a witch, quite contrary to the rules of the world, in which females become witches and males become wizards. The book, I am happy to say, sparkles with Pratchett’s usual wit and imagination. Although labelled by its publisher as a “Young Adult” book, Pratchett’s audience has no age limits and is suitable for any reader of any age.

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