The trouble with gods is that after enough people start believing in them, they begin to exist. And what begins to exist isn’t what was originally intended.
Pyramids : Discworld #7
By Terry Pratchett
It’s bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn’t a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he’s been trained at Ankh-Morpork’s famed assassins’ school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun. First, there’s the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal – not to mention a headstrong handmaiden – at the heart of his realm.
After going through a few books with characters who are better known and established, Pyramids is a fun little side-story about a civilization on the Discworld that no one pays much attention to. At 2 miles wide and 150 miles long, Djelibeybi (just say it out loud) is a place heavily inspired by Ancient Egypt. It’s on a long river, it has animal-headed gods, and it buries its kings in- you guessed it- Pyramids.
The country has a very isolationist outlook, and hasn’t changed a whole lot for thousands of years. Of course, this all goes upside down when the crown prince goes to Assassin School and comes back with a head full of ideas.
I won’t get any more into the plot than that, except to say that it’s certainly a doozy. Things have always been crazy on the Discworld, and Pyramids explores a brand new kind of bonkers. We see more of the gods than ever before, get into all sort of mathematics with unexpected characters, and see a culture that is very different from the kingdoms that have been featured before.
The story is a little derivative (it’s another story about royal succession after all), but it has all the Discworld humor and absurdity, but with a new, or rather, very ancient, flair.
Should You Read This?
If you’re a fan of ancient history, and are a nerd for jokes relating to that discipline, this may be the book for you!
Also, there is the fact that the story stands on its own. There is the connection to Ankh-Morpork, which has been visited in previous titles, but aside from that the plot exists in a new place with all new characters. (Except Death, he’s always in these things… bless him.)
Pyramids is a bizarre spoof on pharaohs, the afterlife, time warps, and the intelligence of humped quadrupeds. Give it a spin!
Summary from Goodreads