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Last Hero [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett , Paul Kidby
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 15 2002 GollanczF.
A Discworld novel fully illustrated in lavish colour throughout its 160 pages, this is an essential part of any Discworld collection. It stars the legendary Cohen. He's been a legend in his own lifetime. He can remember when a hero didn't have to worry about fences and lawyers and civilisation, and when people didn't tell you off for killing dragons. But he can't always remember, these days, where he put his teeth ...So now, with his ancient sword and his new walking stick and his old friends -- and they're very old friends -- Cohen the Barbarian is going on one final quest. He's going to climb the highest mountain in the Discworld and meet his gods. The last hero in the world is going to return what the first hero stole. With a vengeance. That'll mean the end of the world, if no one stops him in time.

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From Amazon

A new Discworld story is always an event. Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero is unusually short, a 40,000-word "Discworld Fable" rather than a full novel, but is illustrated throughout in sumptuous colour by Paul Kidby.

The 160 pages cover the series' longest and most awesome (but still comic) journey yet, a mission to save all Discworld from a new threat. An old threat, actually. Aged warrior Cohen the Barbarian has decided to go out with a bang and take the gods with him. So, with the remnants of his geriatric Silver Horde, he's climbing to the divine retirement home Dunmanifestin with the Discworld equivalent of a nuke--a 50-pound keg of Agatean Thunder Clay. This will, for excellent magical reasons, destroy the world.

It's up to Leonard of Quirm, Discworld's da Vinci, to invent the technology that might just beat Cohen to his goal. His unlikely vessel is powered by dragons, crewed by himself and two popular regular characters, and secretly harbours a stowaway. Before long we hear the Discworld version of "Houston, we have a problem..."

Kidby rises splendidly to the challenge of painting both funny faces and cosmic vistas. As Pratchett puts it, The Last Hero "has an extra dimension: some parts of it are written in paint!" New characters include Evil Dark Lord Harry Dread, who started out with "just two lads and his Shed of Doom", and a god so tiresome that his worshippers are forbidden chocolate, ginger, mushrooms and garlic.

Pratchett's story alone is strong and effective, with several hair-raising frissons contrasting with high comedy; Kidby's paintings make it something very special. Don't miss this one. --David Langford --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Cohen the Barbarian, aka the Emperor Ghengiz Cohen, hero of 26 Discworld fables, and his Silver Horde go gentle into any good night? Never. Not even if they're held together by various elasticized supporters and forget where they left their false teeth. The gods unpardonably let Cohen and Co. succumb to old age, and the members of the Horde Boy Willie, Caleb, Truckle and Hamish, who's ("Whut?") stone deaf still want drink, treasure and women, even if they admit they've had to ease back on the last one. Cohen gets a bard to record their one last universe-defying hobble toward immortality, and old age has rarely been so gut-splittingly yet accurately portrayed here, embellished by Paul Kidby's wacky and wicked illustrations. The Horde's last quest is to return the fire Cohen stole long ago from Dunmanifestin, the gods' ultimate Good Address. Unfortunately, that will destroy the magic holding the world together, so Lord Vetinari of Ankh-Morpork "workshops" the situation ("the means by which people who don't know anything get together to pool their ignorance") and sends a dragon-powered vessel crewed by an inventor, a soldier, a wizard and an orangutan librarian to stop Cohen and his tottery Horde. Pratchett lets fly sly volleys at today's civilization and skewers nearly every barbarian-fantasy clich‚ rampant in too many books and films. This far-out farce rollicks along hilariously enough to make the inevitable aging process, if not palatable, at least worth a few good belly laughs. (Nov. 1)Forecast: You don't have to be a fantasy fan to appreciate the marvelous jacket art, depicting a skinny, bald, aged barbarian clutching a sword in one hand and a cane in the other.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short... but good. Nov. 25 2002
Format:Hardcover
The end of the Discworld is near, as the geriatric Silver Horde, lead by Cohen the Barbarian, are on their way to Dunmanifestin with the firm intention of blowing up the Gods. They've even kidnapped a minstrel to write the story of their heroic lives. Someone has to stop them, and quickly!
So to save the world from total destruction, the Wizards of Unseen University and the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari, have no choice but to call Leonard da Quirm to the rescue. Soon the inventor, along with the very literal Captain Carrot of the City Watch and Rincewind the chicken-hearted WiZZard, embark on a perilous journey aboard the Kite, a bird-shaped flying device powered by Swamp Dragons. According to his calculations, if the Kite goes over the rim at great speed, it'll come back around and rocket right towards the hub, where lies Dunmanifestin, just in time to stop Cohen and his gang.
Even though The Last Hero might seems a little bit short, comparatively, of course it has the genuine, punful, Pratchett style that we've all come to love so much. The good side of it is that it's read in no time, eh! And Paul Kidby's lavish illustrations are just astounding. Would do a wonderful gift idea, wouldn't it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Discworld fan Jan. 7 2003
By Sam
Format:Hardcover
I loved this book! I would not advise it for someone who is not yet aquainted with the Discworld, but it is otherwise marvelous. The tale was short but made up for it with page after page of spectacular illustrations by Paul Kidby.
The Last Hero brings together Carrot and Rincewind who, to my knowledge, have never before shared an adventure, along with gods, wizards, priests and of course heros. Altogether, throughly spiffy
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rincewind and Carrot and Death, Oh My Nov. 16 2003
Format:Hardcover
Cohen the Barbarian (lately Genghiz Cohen, Emperor of Agatea) and his Silver Horde (they used to be a Golden Horde, but that was before what hair they have left went grey) have set out on one last grand and pointless adventure; Cohen plans to swarm the mountain of the gods and "the last thief will return what the first thief stole".
For those who wonder just what that means, the first thief is currently chained to a mountainside with an eagle tearing at his liver, and Cohen has a large barrel of Agatean Fire Clay[1]...
And, if he succeeds, it's the End Of The World.
And so the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork turns to the wizards of Unseen University and to Leonard of Quirm[2] to figure out how to stop Cohen.
As usual, Leonard has An Idea.
And so Leonard, Captain Carrot of the Watch and Rincewind, the reluctant wizard[3] set out in the Discworld's first spacecraft to orbit the Disc and get there in time to stop Cohen and company.
Unlike the usual Discworld adventure, this is a large-format book with illustrations by Paul Kidby[5], and the illustrations (while not essential to the story) are hilarious and complement Pratchett's inspired satirical insanity brilliantly.[7]
As usual, though, one can count on Pratchett to hold up a twisted mirror to our own world and to make a few Telling Points here and there.
And -- mirabile dictu! -- Archchancellor Ridcully seems to be beginning to understand some of the implications of quantum theory as it applies to magic and the (more or less) Real World.[8]

[1]Not to mention a kidnapped minstrel to write the saga after it's all over. It is required by The Rules that Heroic Deeds be recounted in sagas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great! A must-have for fans new or old! Dec 5 2004
By Esn024
Format:Paperback
This book is absolutely fabulous; it's 20 dollars well-spent!
Unlike some other books like this that I've bought (The Dragon Chronicles comes to mind), this one relies as much on its great text as it does on the gorgeous paintings.
The story here fits into the book quite nicely, although it gets off to a bit of a jerky start (at first it seems like there's a new story on every page) and at the end not ALL the loose ends are tied up (whatever happened to the priests in the Temple of Small Gods?). On the whole, though, there's much to enjoy here. This has got to be the most condensed Discworld story ever written yet, since it tries to cram almost every single major character in the series into one book. Nevertheless, once the story gets flowing it all reads like one of the better Discworld novels.
The paintings are gorgeous and plentiful (there's one on almost every page!) and add a whole new dimension to the story. All of the characters and landscapes were painted just like I THOUGHT they should look (I've read several Discworld novels already). Carrot in particular is a hard character to draw, but a good effort was made regardless.
This is a perfect book for newcomers to the series who want to see the best that it has to offer before deciding whether to read the other books, but also for seasoned Discworld readers who will love the illustrations and the new characters that this story brings into play.
Plus, Christmas is coming. This is the PERFECT gift book for anybody who has a sense of humour.
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Format:Hardcover
...Pratchett books are too short. This (sigh!) is the
shortest of the lot. Other than that, of course, it's
marvelous.
We last met Cohen the Barbarian and his antique
superheroes when they conquered the Counterweight Continent
in _Interesting Times_. With nothing left to conquer, they
give up the easy life that has already taken one of their
number. They are going to climb Cori Celesti, the impossibly
high central spire of Discworld, and return fire to the gods
- in the form of a barrel of gunpowder. The resulting
explosion in Dunmanifestin, the godly city, will destabilize
the entire world.
To stop them, Unseen University is launching an
experimental ship, powered by belching mini-dragons, off the
edge of the Disc. Designed by Leonard of Quirm, its orbital
path should land it on the mountain in time to stop the
attack.
Once again, Pratchett takes the ridiculous and raises it
to the sublime. Truckle the Uncivil, Boy Willie, and Mad
Hamish (in his wheelchair) can't take on the gods! But when
they do, we'll learn something about how to remember real
heroism. The terrified minstrel dragged along behind Caleb
the Ripper and grandmotherly war-maiden Vena the Raven-haired
learns how to write a song remembered forever. Leonard of
Quirm, the innocent super-genius, can design an possible
flying machine in his head, but stands in awe, painting the
grandeur he views from space.
There is clearly some Pratchett soul in Leonard, and
Rincewind the Wizzard, and even in Evil Harry Dread (the last
Dark Lord).
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Short of Wonderful
What a fabulous, fabulous book! Not only is it another wonderful yarn by Mr. Pratchett, but it is filled with absolutely WONDERFUL art that is at times stunning, and at other times... Read more
Published on June 19 2003 by Mathew P. Sewell
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Gerontological Journey!
This book is awesome, fabulous, funny, and gorgeous! The illustrations are as amazing as Pratchett's best writing (which, OK...Carrot in Space may not be a shining moment...). Read more
Published on May 1 2002 by Kathleen L. Barron
4.0 out of 5 stars Terry Trying Too Hard.
In "The Last Hero", Terry Pratchett takes the reader to the Discworld... a place where anything can happen and most of it does. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Morti
4.0 out of 5 stars Terry Trying Too Hard.
In "The Last Hero", Terry Pratchett takes the reader to the Discworld... a place where anything can happen and most of it does. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Morti
4.0 out of 5 stars Terry Trying Too Hard.
In "The Last Hero", Terry Pratchett takes the reader to the Discworld... a place where anything can happen and most of it does. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Morti
4.0 out of 5 stars Terry Trying Too Hard.
In "The Last Hero", Terry Pratchett takes the reader to the Discworld... a place where anything can happen and most of it does. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Morti
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 stars for the story, five for the illustrations
It's not Pratchett at his best, or even at his averagest... In places, it's almost not Pratchett at all. Read more
Published on March 4 2002 by F. G. Hamer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
This is the first illustrated Terry Pratchett book I have owned, and it has brought to life each character as I have imagined - the only exception being Carrot, and that can be... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2002 by ReeQueen
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