Terry Pratchett's latest novel is Nation and it's like nothing else he's ever written -- except that like many of his books, it is fantastic and brilliant.
Nation is the story of two children: Ermintrude may just be the Queen of England now that a plague has struck down most of the royal family. Mau is the last survivor of the Nation, a tribal people living on a south-seas island that has been destroyed by a tsunami. They are both lost and adrift in the wake of terrible tragedy, flung together on the island of Nation. They both are blessed with doubt about the theologies of their ancestors -- and denied its succour. Together, they discover science, and use it to weld together their people and save them from despair and evil external forces.
Nation is an absolutely sweet book, a story that is part Lord of the Flies and part Treasure Island, with strong and likable characters who are forced to their limits by circumstances. The action is well-paced, the philosophy and science are deftly handled, and there is humor and fear in equal measures.
This isn't a Discworld novel or a Truckers novel -- it's not Good Omens. It's a complete departure for Pratchett and yet is recognizably him, on every page, writing with the same grace and wit we know from his other work. Highly recommended (and would make brilliant bedtime reading, too).
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