Do you think it’s possible for an entire nation to be insane?
Borogravia was a peace-loving country in the midst of treacherous, devious, warlike enemies. They had to be treacherous, devious, and warlike, otherwise we wouldn’t be fighting them, eh? There was always a war.
It’s another story about how very stupid war can be from time to time, but this time around, it’s flavored with a god with increasingly mad edicts and a surprising number of women dressing as men to go to war. And sometimes you get women dressing up as men dressing up as women…
It’s a combination of a look at gender roles, how dark war can be, and how ridiculous religion is at times. It does all three of them impressively well, while at the same time keeping just enough humor running through the book to not drag everything down too much.
Characterwise, all of the little lads are a lot of fun. Polly in particular is a welcome point of view, competent and just disbelieving that no one can figure out what’s really going on and how people can really follow the religion they’re all (in theory) fighting for. Jade the troll continues the tradition of surprisingly interesting troll characters (I really shouldn’t be surprised any more). Maladict the Vampire gives another Vampiric look into addiction. We also get a few glances of others as well, including Vimes and Angua of the City Watch and William de Worde and Otto of the Ankh-Morpork Times. Welcoming glimpses all.
Overall, read this book. It’s stand alone enough that it could easily be an introduction to the Discworld universe, so long as the topics themselves aren’t going to turn you off while at the same time having enough references to keep those who’ve read many more interested. Another 5 stars from Pratchett.