19 Sep 2016

(TIFFANY ACHING SERIES #5): THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN.

And now the birds were singing overhead and there was a soft rustling in the undergrowth, and all the sounds of the forest which showed life was still being lived blended with the souls of the dead in a woodland requiem.
(Page 66.)

- RIP TERRY PRATCHETT
(1948 - 2015)

THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN by TERRY PRATCHETT.

BACK COVER BLURB: A SHIVERING OF WORLDS.

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad. 

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

FIRST SENTENCE {PROLOGUE: A CROWN IN THE CHALK}: It was born in the darkness of the Circle Sea; at first just a soft, floating thing, washed back and forth by tide after tide.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: See the top of the post.

SOURCE: One of Mr T's books, off our shelves.

MY THOUGHTS: It has to be said that whilst I generally leave Mr Pratchett's books to Mr T I've really enjoyed this 'series'* starring Tiffany Aching. Indeed if you only ever read one of the author's novels I'd suggest Wintersmith - it really is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read AND whilst it features Tiffany it isn't technically speaking actually part of the series so much as a standalone novel that just so happens to have one of the series well known characters in it.

Anyway ...

Set on the chalk downs in 'Discworld' The Shepherd's Crown (the 41st book in the Discworld series overall) follows the adventures of the now fully fledged witch, Tiffany. Its ironic (though I believe deliberate) given the authors death from "the embuggerance of Alzheimer’s" that the novel confronts mortality with the death of .... if you don't already know, you won't read it here .... as we join our heroine, now at the peak of her prowess, as she tackles her old enemies, the elves, in a sort of Midsummer's Night's Dream with more sinister fae.

In many ways as glorious as the other books - oh how I love the Wee Freemen (despite at times struggling with their accents - and yet ...

Not entirely finished at the time of his death, there is a point in this book when both I and Mr T noticed a subtle shift in narrative. Nothing drastic or too obvious and difficult to explain if you haven't actually read the book, just a sense that here was a novel that wasn't as fully formed (for want of a better word) in quite the same way as previous books, that, for me at least, I couldn't always 'feel' the author (if that makes any kind of sense) in the words.

Nevertheless, a fitting swan song, bittersweet as it is.

Read for The 2016 Reading Challenge: 'A Book Recommended By Your Partner' category.

* The full Tiffany Aching 'series' comprising ....
The Wee Free Men (2003)
A Hat Full Of Sky (2004)
Wintersmith (2006)
I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)
The Shepherd's Crown (2015)

Mr T suggests this as a fitting tribute and interesting piece of reading. TT


10 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I've picked this up a few times but always put it back on the shelf because I don't like the cover illustration. This is obviously one of those times when I really shouldn't judge a book by ...

Neal Terry said...

Read the linked article at the end of Tracy's review Barbara, its an interview with the cover artist who reflects on his relationship with Sir Terry and explains how the cover is as it is.

Tracy Terry said...

No, we aren't keen on the cover either Barbara. Well worth the read though and especially if you are familiar with the series.

Brian Joseph said...

I have not read Pratchet but I would like to.

The Discworld books sound so interesting. I might start with Wintersmith.

Kelly said...

I've not read any Pratchett, either. I think I'll put Wintersmith on my wish list per your recommendation.

Trac~ said...

Hey friend - stopping by to say hello. It's been forever since I've had a chance to stop by, but wanted to while I can now. Hope all is well your way. Take care! Xoxo

frayedattheedge said...

Oh I haven't read this one - I must put it on the list. I have loved the books, and I really love the Wee Freemen - obviously I don't have any bother understanding them!!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sounds like they did a careful job of finishing the novel. Not trying to outdo and be respectful. At least that was nice. :) I still have to read this series.

Suko said...

Happy Monday, Tracy! This sounds like a read-worthy series!

Nikki-ann said...

I'm reading the Discworld books in order and haven't got this far into the series... (I don't want it to end!). I'm reading Small Gods at the moment. All I've read this year is Discworld books!