Friday, 4 September 2015

Terry Pratchett's Final 'Discworld' book - 'The Shepherds Crown' (no spoiler alert needed)

Terry Pratchett - 'The Shepherd's Crown' The final book in his series of 'Discworld' books
I bought the final Terry Pratchett 'Discworld' book 'The Shepherds Crown' yesterday.
I know this will sound like a complete 'fan girl' fainting attack, but I held the book like a precious relic.
I sat with it on my knee, brushing the cover a couple of times with my cardigan's right hand 'heel'.
And as always when opening a new Terry Pratchett book, I took in the illustrations on the front cover, the binding and back of the book first.
The front pictured 'Tiffany Aching' a teenage witch with a white cat (assuming this is her 'familiar' as she is a witch).
I love Tiffany Aching. I have read her to my children and I feel like she has grown up with them.
I want to take her in to my home and say 'I know you are an all powerful witch, but you're still so young and everyone needs a hug now and then and this is the place if you need it.' (I'd have to move to 'chalk' to do this - obviously)
The book cover shows Tiffany a few years older than the last Tiffany Aching book, probably in young 'womanhood' - the white cat walking along side her wearing a 'Yeah - just try it mate!' expression on its face.
They are walking through the chalk landscape that is Tiffany's domain, and where she draws her power and resolution from.
The back illustration shows a golden fleeced young goat wearing either a 'YES - AND??!' expression - or a total 'What's going on? Where are my carrots?' look - (you can never tell with goats).
I opened the book to the dedication page and it said :
' For Esmerelda Weatherwax - Mind how you go'....
'Aw what a lovely sentiment, dedicating the book to one of his characters' I thought.
Then I remembered that 'Granny Weatherwax' was a dab hand at dealing with 'Death' and even beat him a few times, so that made me chuckle. If you want anyone by your side at the point of death, you would choose Granny Weatherwax against any angel or devil as she's not frightened of 'playing dirty' to win.
That's when I stopped.
I closed the book and hugged it to me like a well-loved teddy bear.
And all of a sudden it hit me -
This is the last 'Discworld' book I will ever read for the first time!
I will never have this anticipation again!
This is the last 'Discworld' book - ever....
I now understand what people of the time of Shakespeare and Dickens felt when they died. (the Authors - not the people - although it was, I am sure, just as much a shock to the people when they died as well as the authors - It would just be more about who would get the '2nd best bed' and who got the only 4 silver spoons in the house at the time of death)
Before you scoff - I don't over exaggerate - if you read Pratchett, there is pathos, comedy, tragedy, compassion, sadness , murder, intrigue, brandy, dancing, babies, death, love, community, 'seeing through the rhetoric to what is actually there.' and 'Sorry - crap sometimes happens to nice people too'  that occurs in Shakespeare and Dickens.
The only difference is that Terry Pratchett always has - if not a 'happy ending' certainly a 'Life's lesson learnt & were all better for it' outcome.
And here I was - the final book in my hand - holding it like it was a waxed Sumerian tablet or a premature baby (for it was most assuredly a premature end for the author).
I am suddenly overcome with emotion, which takes me by surprise...genuine tears prick my eyes and my heart sinks to my feet - my chin wobbles like a Turkey on Christmas Eve.
The - last - Discworld - novel - ever.
As I let that sink in, I hold the book carefully like a 1000 year old lace shawl.
I was so looking forward to this book, anticipated the rush of this new book acquisition (I am such a book geek) and the new journey into the 'Discworld'
Now I have it, I can't bring myself to read it. I have realised that this will be the last 'Discworld' book I will ever read for the first time - ever again.
I know this may sound dramatic or daft, but Terry Pratchett was/is one of my top 5 authors and to think that I will not be able to open a new book with him as the author ever again? - Well, let's just say that there will need to be some belated mourning and final separation for me to go through before I will be able to read this final book..
So, you're safe - there is no book review here giving away details of the story before you have had a chance to read it.
So no 'spoiler alerts' needed. Just that I hope if you read this book, that you become a true fan and if this is your first 'toe-dip' into the 'Discworld' I hope it's  not your last into the 'Discworld' pool, and you will enjoy it enough to read the rest.
I can assure you that no matter what you're book preference, you will enjoy the 'Discworld'

Copywrite Kate McClelland 2015

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