"Thief of Time" has been staring at me for the best of half a year, protruding from the row of books such as is my habit, ready to be read. But then someone lent me his entire "Harry Potter" series and, really, I had to read that first. Then someone did the same with "The Salmon of Doubt" (reviewed here as well) and, well, that was another reason to put it off. Then came my birthday and I didn't want to disappoint my girlfriend by not quickly starting on the book she gave me. In the end, obviously, I did get round to grabbing Terry Pratchett's latest (paperback) Discworld novel.

Pratchett is wise. Through his characters we observe not only the variety of things that happen on the Discworld, but also reflect upon the peculiarities of us, humans, our ways, and our distinctly odd habits. As usual, the plot of this Discworld novel thickens by the page. In fact I think I may have missed a few of its subtleties, and the nearly arcane way in which loose ends in the end - and with a bit of a flourish - get neatly tied up and supplied with an ornamental ribbon as it were.

"Thief of Time" boasts a cast of familiar and new characters, all of which you'll quickly love. Well, almost all of them. Death is my personal favourite, and I am glad he puts in an important appearance. Ronnie (the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, who left before they became famous) is there as well, almost as likeable.

The last time I read a Pratchett book I ended up owing him a debt. He showed me that there was still stuff in the world that you can laugh at. And these were good laughs, not the kind you get when arch nemeses (or is it "nemesises"?) have just unveiled their evil plans to kill some or other hero. I sent my review of "The Truth" to him, and he sent a friendly email reply. Having practically co-grown up on Pratchett's writings for the past 14 years, I feel close to him when I read his books. I appreciate him not like you do some distant author, but instead like a guy who you can approach and talk to. Not exactly a friend, but definitely a more than casual acquaintance. With him, I cannot help but occasionally wanting to climb up on his metaphorical stage and go, "That was excellent, Mr. Pratchett. I hope you'll continue doing what you're doing for a long while yet."

Released 2002, ISBN 0-552-14840-7

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Written November 2002


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