Eric, A Discworld take on Faust.
"No enemies had ever taken Ankh-Morpork. Well technically they had, quite often; the city welcomed free-spending barbarian invaders, but somehow the puzzled raiders found, after a few days, that they didn't own their horses any more, and within a couple of months they were just another minority group with its own graffiti and food shops."
Once more Terry Pratchett has taken a literary classic, run it through the Disc and made it his own. This time the story is Faust, you know the tale, the man who sells his soul to the devil. Only here Faust takes the form of a fourteen year-old boy who tries to get his three basic wishes filled. Nothing too fancy, thank you, just immortality, rulership of the world and a beautiful woman at his side. But what he actually gets with his spell casting is a rather ragged, spell-shocked wizzard who's totally incapable of magic!
Yes, Rincewind is back . As you'll surely recall, we last saw Rincewind he was defending against the demons of the Dungeon Dimension so Coin, the Sourcerer, could get back to Unseen University to close the rift. And so again we have a story that, while it may not require you to read the last book, certainly benefits from the telling.
So we have Eric with Rincewind trapped in a spell, commanding his three wishes. Now history tells us that Rincewind could find good luck before he could cast a spell, so imagine everyone's surprise when, with a snap of his fingers, he and Eric find themselves before the Discworld version of the Aztecs, who are prepared to crown Eric as Ruler of the World. Of course there's some serious downsides, like a short life expectancy in order to make the worlds wrongs right again. When Rincewind snaps his fingers again, they find themselves transported to meet the most beautiful woman, Elenor, the Disc version of Helen of Troy. Of course, with their luck, naturally they end up in the middle of the war.
With one last snap of the fingers, Eric learns that to live forever means having to live, well, forever, that is start to finish, and they find they've been transported to the beginning of time, right to the creators doorstep. (A hint: Rincewind may be single-handedly responsible for humanity, scary isn't it?) I guess there's only one way to escape from that, so its once more to Hell, only to find the source of power that has been granting the wishes. A rebellion is brewing in Hell and Eric and Rincewind are right in the middle of it.
This is certainly one of my favorites. I love the way Mr. Pratchett takes each story, holds the form of them and then meshes them so wonderfully into his own world. Truly, he is a writer on par with all the classicists. I also see (*warning*) why eventually he puts Rincewind away. The eternal coward and incompetent wizard can only run away from so many fights, you can only have him stumble through so many adventures and still have it seem fresh and funny. But Eric really shows the best of Rincewind. There's still a few stories to be told, and this will certainly hold a top place among them.