The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett
An age of iron is dawning across the Discworld with the spread of the railway, but on the Chalk, life goes on much as it always has. Tiffany Aching, who is witch and midwife and whatever else is needed by the people under her care, has settled into her place – but something is not right. For the barriers between worlds are weakening as one of the Disc’s great guardians is lost, and peering through the gaps are the eyes of an old enemy…This time, Tiffany has more to protect than ever. And gods help whatever lies in her way.
I don’t know how to review this. It is the last Discworld novel and from the afterword, it wasn’t quite finished before Terry Pratchett died. It doesn’t feel finished. His trademark zing and exuberance is intermittent; the characters are more laboured, their wins less earned. The introduction of Geoffrey was, to me, largely irrelevant and the development of Nightshade’s character too heavy-handed. But it’s so good to see the much-loved characters again and a world that, over the course of over forty novels, has grown and evolved to hook in generation after generation of readers. In this last book, Pratchett continued to challenge the expectations of conventional fantasy, even the conventions of his own creation. Why should all witches be women? Why should all elves be evil?
Thank you, Sir Terry, for giving us all the chance to say goodbye.