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Updated on October 20, 2009

"It's not generally realized that camels have a natural aptitude for advanced mathematics, particularly where they involve ballistics."
– Terry Pratchett, Pyramids

One of the things I enjoy in Terry Pratchett's books is the consistency of the characters. Death, Rincewind, Granny, Samuel Vimes, they are very much part of the Discworld and show up frequently. But every once in a while Mr. Pratchett throws a new character out there, rather a one time thing. The novel, Pyramids, is the first of them.

Djelibeybi, yes, pronounced jelly-baby, is the Discworld's version of ancient Egypt. Ruled by pharaohs and tradition, the kingdom has maintained its sense of identity for years. Unfortunately when Pteppic, the kings son, is sent to Ankh-Morpork to be educated as an assassin, his eyes are opened to new ideas and new ways to do things. While taking his final exam, he learns that his father has died and its time to return him and take the throne.

Upon returning home, the head priest, Dios, is ready to help Pteppic take on the challenges of kingship. Of course much of the challenge involves following the variety of traditions that govern every moment of his life, "The king likes chicken on Wednesday." And when Pteppic tries to change things, the fight with Dios begins. The battle comes to a head when Dios begins work on the largest pyramid ever for the dead king, despite the protests of both  Pteppic and the dead king, who is forced to stick around to watch the proceedings.

The building of the great pyramid causes serious problems, a build-up of magic in the kingdom that brings the variety of gods to wander the streets, and actually twists reality to the point that when Pteppic leaves the boundaries of the kingdom, he can't get back in! After consulting with the philosophers in Ephebe, Pteppic finds his way back into the kingdom, confronts Dios and destroys the pyramids.

One of the funniest books in the series, in places, it does contain some dreadful puns, but still contains enough laughs to balance it out. The camel, for instance, I love the camel. It starts strong, and finishes strong, but somewhere in the middle it seems to hit a snag. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it loses something for a while, then regains it near the end. Of course I still highly recommend it, there's not a Discworld I wouldn't recommend. I hope you enjoy.


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    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 8 years ago from NJ, USA

      One of my favorite authors - I'm in the process of re-readin ghis work - I'll get to this one eventually!