The Shepherd’s Crown

The Shepherd’s Crown is the last book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I really don’t like the finality of how that sounds, which is probably why I’ve waited a long time to read this book.

Having complained about how the female lead character was used in The Unicorn Project, I figured it was time to read this book and see it done properly again.

I’m not going to include any full-on spoilers, but some things might give the game away, so don’t read this if you’ve not already read the book.

During the first sequence in the book I got a pretty good idea what was coming and I was like, “No. No. Nooooooooo!” I’m not going to say what it was, but it was a major kick in the gonads…

Tiffany Aching is a great character. It would be so easy for a lesser writer to make her a Mary Sue, but Pratchett keeps her multi-dimensional. Sometimes strong, clever, and at times ruthless. Sometimes self-doubting and almost naive.

As you would expect for this part of the disc (world), there are a number of familiar characters. It’s wrong to say any character in Discworld is “my favourite”, as it changes with each book, and sometime several times in a single book. This book contained several of my favourite characters. Some old and some new. 🙂 There was also a brief appearance by Horace, a Blue Lancre cheese made by Tiffany, who was known to eat mice, and as it turns out is capable of fighting alongside the Nac Mac Feegle. I’m ashamed to admit I had forgotten about him until he was mentioned in a scene.

This was quite an emotional roller coaster ride of a story. Partly because of the story itself and the characters involved. Partly because it was the last of a 41 book series, which I loved. Partly because of the reason for why it was the last book.

Oh well. Happy days!



For those that don’t know, here’s a little bit of history…

Despite having a degree and a PhD, I had somehow managed to remain pretty terrible at reading. I suspect a mild case of dyslexia maybe. In 2006, at the tender age of 37, I decided to force myself to start reading in an attempt to improve.

I started by reading The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. In 2007 I started to read the Discworld series and got hooked. I read all of the books (very slowly) that existed until I was done, then kept reading each new one as they arrived. I’ve dipped in and out of other things since then, but by far the majority of the books I’ve read in my life were part of this series. We are fast nearing the end of 2019, and that part of my reading life is now over. 🙁

For those that care, I am substantially better at reading now. Part of that is practice of course. Part of it is not beating myself up about being crap at reading anymore. Part of it is the additional confidence public speaking has given me. I’m still pretty terrible at reading out loud, but I’m less bothered by the mistakes now. 🙂

So for the part you played in that process, thanks Terry!

Raising Steam

Raising Steam is the 40th book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

I waited a long time before starting this book because I heard from several sources that it wasn’t very good and I didn’t want to ruin what has been an awesome 39 book series. I finally bit the bullet and I’m really glad I did because I really enjoyed it. Maybe some literary types can argue some difference between the earlier books and this one, but as far as I can see it’s the same Discworld stuff I’ve enjoyed all along.

Steam trains have come to Discword and most of the world has fallen under their spell. I used to love toy trains as a kid, so I could relate to this. 🙂



Terry Pratchett: Snuff…

Snuff is book 39 in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. In this one Sam Vimes is forced by his wife to go on holiday to his country estate. Being a copper he’s on the lookout for anything amiss and ends up getting involved in more than he bargained for. It’s typical Vimes, typical Discworld and typical Pratchett.

I love how Terry Pratchett manages to state the obvious in a way that makes it sound novel. It’s not just what he says, but when he says it. For example, in one part of the book a rather nasty incident occurs, then he hits you with the line,

“I tell you commander, it’s true that some of the most terrible things in the world are done by people who think, genuinely think, that they are doing it for best, especially if there is some god involved.”

You’ve heard this sort of line a million times, but it is set up so well in the book it feels like an epiphany.

Please Sir, can I have some more?



PS. I need some fresh inspiration. I’ve finished all the Terry Pratchett,  Jim Butcher and Mike Carey stuff and I’ve got some Waterstones vouchers that need spending. 🙂 Anyone got any ideas what I should try next?

Unseen Academicals…

Unseen Academicals is the 37th book in the Discworld series. When I first started reading the series I found Terry Pratchett‘s writing style a little strange. Having had a long break from reading his stuff, switching back was a little difficult at first. Fortunately the characters are brilliant, so you get drawn back in fairy quickly. The first 50 pages were a little tricky, but after that it was just like home again.

The wizards of the Unseen University are forced to make a decision between playing football or eating less, so obviously they pick football. There are a few new characters introduced, including Nutt, who is awesome.

If you like the others you will love this.



PS. Football refers to real football, not that American stuff. 🙂


Since finishing the Discworld series* I’ve really struggled to find something else to latch on to. I’ve tried a few things, but nothing has really grabbed my attention. Being the nonliterary type I am, one of the most important factors in any book is how easy it is to read. Some of the stuff I’ve tried has been what I can only describe as jagged or spiky. Authors with writing styles like that last about 4 pages with me…

On my recent trip to Australia I bought Nation, my first non-Discworld Terry Pratchett book. I never got chance to read it on the trip, even during the 21 hour flights, but I finished it this morning.

It’s very different to the Discworld books. It’s not a funny book by any means, but it’s a really interesting story and of course it flows nicely making it effortless to read. 🙂



* I’m still waiting for the paperback of Unseen Academicals to be released. Reading hardbacks in the bath is a pain.

Wintersmith and Making Money…

During my recent trips I read the last two books in the Discworld series…

Wintersmith – The Wintersmith (the God of winter, sort-of) falls in love with Tiffany Aching, a young witch. If Tiffany handles it badly the discworld cold be thrown into a permanent winter. The 4th in the young adults series. I got half way through this and left the book on a plane, so I had to buy a new copy to finish it.

Making Money – Moist von Lipwig, a former conman, tries to revitalize the Ankh Morpork banking system.

I’ve been reading these books since November 2007. That’s about 19 months, which works out at roughly 1 book every 2 weeks. There is a new book out later in the year, but I’ll wait for the paperback.

So now what? I don’t really know what to read next. Any suggestions welcome… 🙂




The first 50 pages of Thud! were a real struggle for me. I love the Sam Vimes character so I was expecting this book to click instantly and it just didn’t. It starts off quite serious and there seems to be a distinct lack of humour. So I switched my mindset from expecting humour to just reading a detective story and then started to find it much more amusing. It does seem significanly more serious and it just feels different to many of the Discworld books I’ve read, but maybe it was just me. Even so, it was pretty cool.



A Hat Full of Sky and Going Postal…

The recent traveling as given me a chance to read some more Discworld books.

A Hat Full of Sky – Another mission for the new witch Tiffany Aching. A nice story, but like the other Young Adult Discworld books, it lacks a little edge.

Going Postal – Against his will, a conman called Moist von Lipwig becomes Ankh-Morpork’s latest postmaster. So does he make a go of it, use it to continue his life of crime, or make a run for it? I’m always hesitant when a new character is introduced, but this one works really well.



A few more Discworld books…

I’ve not been reading too much recently, but I managed to get through a few more Discworld books:

Night Watch: Vimes goes back in time and teaches a new recruit (his young self) to be a good copper. Probably my favorite book in the series so far. It has a bit of everything in it.

The Wee Free Men: Another in the “Young Adult” series of books. A young witch is on a mission to save her borther. Nice enough story, but being aimed at young adults, it doesn’t have the depth of some of the other books.

Monstrous Regiment: A young girl joins the army to search for her missing brother. Not nearly as similar to the last book as the one-line summary would have you believe. Some proper belly-laughs in this book.