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Going Postal CD: A Novel of Discworld [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett , Stephen Briggs
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

British fantasist Pratchett's latest special-delivery delight, set in his wonderfully crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade. Soon after Moist von Lipwig (aka Alfred Spangler), Pratchett's not-quite-hapless, accidental hero, barely avoids hanging, Lord Havelock Vetinari, the despotic but pretty cool ruler of Ankh-Morpork, makes him a job offer he can't refuse—postmaster general of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office. The post office hasn't been open for 20 years since the advent of the Internet-like clacks communication system. Moist's first impulse is to try to escape, but Mr. Pump, his golem parole officer, quickly catches him. Moist must then deal with the musty mounds of undelivered mail that fill every room of the decaying Post Office building maintained by ancient and smelly Junior Postman Groat and his callow assistant, Apprentice Postman Stanley. The place is also haunted by dead postmen and guarded by Mr. Tiddles, a crafty cat. Readers will cheer Moist on as he eventually finds himself in a race with the dysfunctional clacks system to see whose message can be delivered first. Thanks to the timely subject matter and Pratchett's effervescent wit, this 29th Discworld novel (after 2003's Monstrous Regiment) may capture more of the American audience he deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - When petty con man Moist von Lipwig is hung for his crimes in the first chapter of this surprising and humorous novel, it appears to be the end. But this is Discworld after all, a world "a lot like our own but different." Moist awakes from the shock of his hanging to find that the city's Patrician, Lord Vetinari, has assigned him a government job (a fate worse than death?) restoring the defunct postal system. Of course, there is much more to restore than the flow of letters and packages. Justice as well as communication has been poorly served by a hostile takeover of the "clacks" - a unique messaging system that is part semaphore, part digital, and under the monopoly of the Grand Trunk Company. Before Moist can get very far into the job, he encounters ghosts, the voices of unsent letters, and a ruthless corporate conspiracy. In this quickly escalating battle, the post office is definitely the underdog, but, as the author notes, "an underdog can always find somewhere soft to bite." Fortunately Moist has friends: the determined Miss Dearheart, a golem with more than feet of clay, and a secret society of unemployed and very unusual postal workers as well as a vampire named Oscar. The author's inventiveness seems to know no end, his playful and irreverent use of language is a delight, and there is food for thought in his parody of fantasyland. This 29th Discworld novel, like the rest of the series, is a surefire hit for fans of Douglas Adams and Monty Python. - Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Alfred Spangler is dead. Moist von Lipwig, formerly known as Alfred Spangler, is presented with a choice: certain death or reviving the Ankh-Morpork post office. Lord Vetinari is persuasive, and Moist is an intelligent if dishonest fellow, so he finds himself with a job and a golem for a parole officer. But the postmaster generalship is harder than Moist expected; for one thing, no mail has been delivered in years, and the entire building is buried in letters and pigeon guano. His postmen are a youth mad for pin collecting and the obsessively dedicated, elderly Mr. Groat. Moreover, the undelivered letters want to be delivered, and they're being distressingly vocal about it. Now the owners of the Grand Trunk clacks company, profit-minded above all else, want Moist dead because, well, they can't take the competition, even with the clacks towers running ragged. Whenever the towers fail, Moist is on the job, getting messages out of Ankh-Morpork. Moist is positively inspired (he takes a certain pleasure in out-scamming Reacher Gilt) and becomes an example to the postmen, even going so far as to deliver a letter 40 years old, after which he sends them out to deliver the rest. Moist will go to almost any length to do his job, from hiring golem postmen to challenging the Grand Trunk to an impossible race; along the way, he even manages to overcome his fear and ask Adora Belle Dearheart (aka Killer) out to dinner. Instead of revisiting old characters, Pratchett again takes on the task of further rounding out his already beautifully imagined Discworld, doing it with his usual blending of good laughs and unexpected depths. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

One of the best and funniest English authors alive Independent He is a satirist of enormous talent...incredibly funny...compulsively readable The Times He would be amusing in any form and his spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction Mail on Sunday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.



Stephen Briggs lives in Oxfordshire and has been involved in the world of amateur dramatics for many years, which is how he came to discover the Discworld. Having read one book, he was hooked and read the entire canon over the next three weeks. Oxford Studio Theatre Club went on to stage his adaptations of Wyrd Sisters; Mort; Guards! Guards!; and many, many more. As well as compiling The Discworld Companion, The New Discworld Companion, and now Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion . . . So Far, he has also coauthored the Discworld Diaries and the Mapps, and has provided the voices for the UK and US Discworld audiobooks.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

The Angel

In which our Hero experiences Hope, the Greatest Gift The Bacon Sandwich of Regret Sombre Reflections on Capital Punishment from the Hangman Famous Last Words Our Hero Dies Angels, conversations about Inadvisability of Misplaced Offers regarding Broomsticks An Unexpected Ride A World Free of Honest Men A Man on the Hop There is Always a Choice

They say that the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates a man's mind wonderfully; unfortunately, what the mind inevitably concentrates on is that it is in a body that, in the morning, is going to be hanged.

The man going to be hanged had been named Moist von Lipwig by doting if unwise parents, but he was not going to embarrass the name, in so far as that was still possible, by being hung under it. To the world in general, and particularly on that bit of it known as the death warrant, he was Albert Spangler.

And he took a more positive approach to the situation and had concentrated his mind on the prospect of not being hanged in the morning, and most particularly on the prospect of removing all the crumbling mortar from around a stone in his cell wall with a spoon. So far the work had taken him five weeks, and reduced the spoon to something like a nail file. Fortunately, no one ever came to change the bedding here, or else they would have discovered the world's heaviest mattress. It was the large and heavy stone that was currently the object of his attentions, and at some point a huge staple had been hammered into it as an anchor for manacles.

Moist sat down facing the wall, gripped the iron ring in both hands, braced his legs against the stones on either side, and heaved.

His shoulders caught fire and a red mist filled his vision but the block slid out, with a faint and inappropriate tinkling noise. Moist managed to ease it away from the hole and peered inside.

At the far end was another block, and the mortar around it looked suspiciously strong and fresh.

Just in front of it was a new spoon. It was shiny.

As he studied it, he heard the clapping behind him. He turned his head, tendons twanging a little riff of agony, and saw several of the warders watching him through the bars.

'Well done, Mr Spangler!' said one of them. 'Ron here owes me five dollars! I told him you were a sticker! He's a sticker, I said!'

'You set this up, did you, Mr Wilkinson?' said Moist weakly, watching the glint of light on the spoon.

'Oh, not us, sir. Lord Vetinari's orders. He insists that all condemned prisoners should be offered the prospect of freedom.'

'Freedom? But there's a damn great stone through there!'

'Yes, there is that, sir, yes, there is that,' said the warder. 'It's only the prospect, you see. Not actual free freedom as such. Hah, that'd be a bit daft, eh?'

'I suppose so, yes,' said Moist. He didn't say 'you bastards.' The warders had treated him quite civilly this past six weeks, and he made a point of getting on with people. He was very, very good at it. People skills were part of his stock-in-trade; they were nearly the whole of it. Besides, these people had big sticks. So, speaking carefully, he added: 'Some people might consider this cruel, Mr Wilkinson.'

'Yes, sir, we asked him about that, sir, but he said no, it wasn't. He said it provided-' his forehead wrinkled '-occ-you-pay-shun-all ther-rap-py, healthy exercise, prevented moping and offered that greatest of all treasures which is Hope, sir.'

'Hope,' muttered Moist glumly.

'Not upset, are you, sir?'

'Upset? Why should I be upset, Mr Wilkinson?'

'Only the last bloke we had in this cell, he managed to get down that drain, sir. Very small man. Very agile.'

Moist looked at the little grid in the floor. He'd dismissed it out of hand. 'Does it lead to the river?' he said.

The warder grinned. 'You'd think so, wouldn't you? He was really upset when we fished him out. Nice to see you've entered into the spirit of the thing, sir. You've been an example to all of us, sir, the way you kept going. Stuffing all the dust in your mattress? Very clever, very tidy. Very neat. It's really cheered us up, having you in here. By the way, Mrs Wilkinson says ta very much for the fruit basket. Very posh, it is. It's got kumquats, even!'

'Don't mention it, Mr Wilkinson.'

'The Warden was a bit green about the kumquats 'cos he only got dates in his, but I told him, sir, that fruit baskets is like life: until you've got the pineapple off'f the top you never know what's underneath. He says thank you, too.'

'Glad he liked it, Mr Wilkinson,' said Moist absent-mindedly. Several of his former landladies had brought in presents for 'the poor confused boy', and Moist always invested in generosity. A career like his was all about style, after all.

'On that general subject, sir,' said Mr Wilkinson, 'me and the lads were wondering if you might like to unburden yourself, at this point in time, on the subject of the whereabouts of the place where the location of the spot is where, not to beat about the bush, you hid all that money you stole . . .?'

The jail went silent. Even the cockroaches were listening.

'No, I couldn't do that, Mr Wilkinson,' said Moist loudly, after a decent pause for dramatic effect. He tapped his jacket pocket, held up a finger and winked. The warders grinned back.

'We understand totally, sir. Now I'd get some rest if I was you, sir, 'cos we're hanging you in half an hour,' said Mr Wilkinson.

'Hey, don't I get breakfast?'

'Breakfast isn't until seven o'clock, sir,' said the warder reproachfully. 'But, tell you what, I'll do you a bacon sandwich. 'cos it's you, Mr Spangler.'

***

And now it was a few minutes before dawn and it was him being led down the short corridor and out into the little room under the scaffold. Moist realized he was looking at himself from a distance, as if part of himself was floating outside his body like a child's balloon ready, as it were, for him to let go of the string.

The room was lit by light coming through cracks in the scaffold floor above, and significantly from around the edges of the large trapdoor. The hinges of said door were being carefully oiled by a man in a hood.

He stopped when he saw the party arrive and said, 'Good morning, Mr Spangler.' He raised the hood helpfully. 'It's me, sir, Daniel "One Drop" Trooper. I am your executioner for today, sir. Don't you worry, sir. I've hanged dozens of people. We'll soon have you out of here.'

'Is it true that if a man isn't hanged after three attempts he's reprieved, Dan?' said Moist, as the executioner carefully wiped his hands on a rag.

'So I've heard, sir, so I've heard. But they don't call me One Drop for nothing, sir. And will sir be having the black bag today?'

'Will it help?'

'Some people think it makes them look more dashing, sir. And it stops that pop-eyed look. It's more a crowd thing, really. Quite a big one out there this morning. Nice piece about you in the Times yesterday, I thought. All them people saying what a nice young man you were, and everything. Er . . . would you mind signing the rope beforehand, sir? I mean, I won't have a chance to ask you afterwards, eh?'

'Signing the rope?' said Moist.

'Yessir,' said the hangman. 'It's sort of traditional. There's a lot of people out there who buy old rope. Specialist collectors, you could say. A bit strange, but it takes all sorts, eh? Worth more signed, of course.' He flourished a length of stout rope. 'I've got a special pen that signs on rope. One signature every couple of inches? Straightforward signature, no dedication needed. Worth money to me, sir. I'd be very grateful.'

'So grateful that you won't hang me, then?' said Moist, taking the pen. This got an appreciative laugh. Mr Trooper watched him sign along the length, nodding happily.

'Well done, sir, that's my pension plan you're signing there. Now . . . are we ready, everyone?'

'Not me!' said Moist quickly, to another round of general amusement.

'You're a card, Mr Spangler,' said Mr Wilkinson. 'It won't be the same without you around, and that's the truth.'

'Not for me, at any rate,' said Moist. This was, once again, treated like rapier wit. Moist sighed. 'Do you really think all this deters crime, Mr Trooper?' he said.

'Well, in the generality of things I'd say it's hard to tell, given that it's hard to find evidence of crimes not committed,' said the hangman, giving the trapdoor a final rattle. 'But in the specificality, sir, I'd say it's very efficacious.'

'Meaning what?' said Moist.

'Meaning I've never seen someone up here more'n once, sir. Shall we go?'

There was a stir when they climbed up into the chilly morning air, followed by a few boos and even some applause. People were strange like that. Steal five dollars and you were a petty thief. Steal thousands of dollars and you were either a government or a hero.

Moist stared ahead while the roll call of his crimes was read out. He couldn't help feeling that it was so unfair. He'd never so much as tapped someone on the head. He'd never even broken down a door. He had picked locks on occasion, but he'd always locked them again behind him. Apart from all those repossessions, bankruptcies and sudden insolvencies, what had he actually done that was bad, as such? He'd only been moving numbers around.

'Nice crowd turned out today,' said Mr Trooper, tossing the end of the rope over the beam and busying himself with knots. 'Lot of press, too. What Gallows? covers 'em all, o' course, and there's the Times and the Pseudopolis Herald, prob'ly because of that bank what collapsed there, and I heard there's a man from the Sto Plains Dealer, too. Very good financial section - I always keep... --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

In the latest Discworld fantasy, con-artist Moist von Lipwig finds himself at the end of his rope, literally. His neck is saved, but the deal for deliverance requires him to restore the defunct local post office, taking on the new monopolistic Internet-like communications system and its greedy leader in the process. Narrator Stephen Briggs navigates the literary swells and eddies with aplomb. New readers of Pratchett may find the going a bit tough at times, but neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will keep this prankster from delivering a laugh-out-loud tale. R.O. 2005 Audie Award Finalist © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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