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Reaper Man [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

July 4 2005 Discworld Novels (Book 11)
In the eleventh Discworld novel, Death is missing – presumed . . . er . . . gone.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.
Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There’s a harvest to be gathered in.

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"If you're an established fan, you'll enjoy this as much as the others; if you're new to Pratchett, what the hell took you so long?" Time Out "One taste, and you'll scour bookstores for more" Daily Mail "Pratchett's humour takes logic past the point of absurdity and round again, but it is his unexpected insights into the human morality that make the Discworld series stand out" Times Literary Supplement

From the Publisher

If you're an established fan, you'll enjoy this as much as the others; if you're new to Pratchett, what the hell took you so long?' - Time Out --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What's life without Death? June 21 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
You wouldn't think about job security becoming a problem for Death, the Defeater of Empires, the Swallower of Oceans, etc., but of course the Discworld is itself a contradiction in terms. When your world is a flat plane of existence transported through space atop the four elephants astride the Great Turtle A'tuin's back, the impossible is surprisingly commonplace. In this bastion of animism and anthropomorphism, not only Death but the mysterious Auditors of Reality have been brought into existence via the mere consciousness running amuck throughout the world. These murkily-defined Auditors, who hate nothing so much as individualism, feel compelled to force Death into retirement for the simple reason that he had taken on something of a personality. If he actually has to die, Death is determined to at least live, and we soon find him working on Renata Flitworth's farm in the plains below the Ramtops under the assumed name of Bill Door. Whereas Death has been known to indulge his curiosity of living men and women from time to time, in this significant Discworld chronicle he slips into the ways of man without conscious effort, and to some extent Bill Door actually does live for a time on the Discworld.

Naturally, you don't just replace Death over night; it takes a while for the collective unconscious of all living things to formulate a New Death, and this period of temporary instability proves quite burdensome. One individual particularly unhappy about the current state of affairs is Windle Poons, the oldest of all the wizards in Unseen University. When Death doesn't show up to meet him at the appointed hour, Poons eventually has little choice but to go and reinhabit his old body once again. He's not the only undead person walking around in the days that follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SQUEAK? SQUEAK. Feb. 14 2004
Death is one of the most interesting recurring characters in the Discworld stories. He's just a regular guy, dealing with a major mission. But now he seems to have acquired a personality and has therefore been sacked from his job. All the smaller deaths -- the Death of Tortoises, the Death of Daffodils, the Death of Rats, and so on -- which used to be subsumed in him are on their own. Death finds he now has a Life-Timer of his own, and the sands of the Future are pouring through the bottleneck of the Present and piling up in the Past. (Pratchett has a terrific way with words.) What else is there for him to do but seek work on a Discworld farm, harvesting corn instead of lives? More important, with no Death to keep it under control, life force is piling up, making its vital presence felt in the form of poltergeist activity and a plague of snowglobes and supermarket baskets, which are only the harbingers of the dreaded appearance of Mall Life. Meanwhile, 130-year-old wizard Windle Poons has just died -- but Death, who is out of a job and not yet been replaced, hasn't come for him. Windle is one of the undead, so naturally he is approached by dead-activists. Then he gets caught up in the struggle against too much life being carried on (reluctantly) by the faculty of Unseen University, of which he was lately a member. And I haven't even mentioned Mrs. Cake and her werewoman daughter, or Lupine, or the grocer vampire, or the bashful banshee who slips notes under doors instead of screaming. Pratchett is a first-rate parodist but he's also a very talented designer of complex and highly original plots and characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A cohesive ending would have made this perfect June 28 2001
"Reaper Man" has all the elements of a good Discworld book. Old friends -- Death, The Librarian -- show up and reap (pun intended) havoc. A gaggle of befuddled wizards leave the sanctuary of Unseen University to try and solve a mystical dilemma. And a sheltered innocent, an old wizard named Windle Poons, learns a little something about himself. All fine and good. The problem, and thankfully it is a rare occurrence in Pratchett's world, is that these elements don't interact enough to create a cohesive whole. Pity.
Death gets top billing here, and he is fleshed-out wonderfully (a tough task considering he had no flesh to begin with). A supernatural career crisis leads him to a job harvesting crops, where his skill with a scythe is put to good use. A budding relationship with his new employer, Miss Flitworth, teaches him to actually live.
Windle Poons undergoes a crisis of his own. He's died. Well, almost. See, Death is not around to collect him. So what happens? Well, Terry heaps confusing circumstances on poor Mr. Poons. Poons reacts in much of the same way that Death did. He learns to live, too. After 130-years of sheltered existence, not to mention the last 50 years living with a decrepit body, he is liberated by Death. Only Terry could come up with such a wacky but logically sound notion.
The rest of the cast of characters, including the Wizards and a rag-tag group of misfits called the Fresh Start Club, lively wander around the plot, narrowly bumping into each other while providing fine comic moments. The Wizards get a little too caught up in their quest, eventually donning cloth headbands and yelling "Yo!" as if going into Rambo-style warfare. Couple this with their sheltered pomposity, and we get truly funny moments.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great.
Will Death ever do his job? Reaper Man is entertaining and there are some great moments, but it's just not as good as most of the other Discworld novels that I've gotten to so far.
Published 9 months ago by Dan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not the best of the Discwold series
After seeing all the 5 star reviews, it made me think that I had read a different book, but perhaps I just didnt "get" this one as much as all of the other reviewers. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2006 by Ignite
5.0 out of 5 stars the spectacular adventure of Bill Door
this is certainly among Pratchett's top five books. It's a wonderful work...full of understated humour and philosophical observations which give a slightly different slant to the... Read more
Published on July 17 2002 by RachelWalker
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchet's Most -gulp- Emotional work
Yes - that does say "emotional." I've read a lot of Pratchet and this is by far his masterpiece. Read more
Published on June 9 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Not in the John Deere catalog . . .
Shortsighted management has forced another "downsizing". This time the victim of layoff is Death himself, "retired" by the Auditors. Read more
Published on March 25 2001 by Stephen A. Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars Reaper Man - A Killer Laugh!
If you've read the other reviews, you probably understand by now that in this episode from the Discworld series, Death gets to take a holiday from his normal duties. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2000 by David C Stark
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful entry in the Reaper Man-Series
What can you say about Pratchett books in general? They're great. It's hard for me to tell them apart, because they're mostly on the same superb level. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2000 by David Theis
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Discworld book so far!
Choosing between this and "Men at Arms" for the title of best Discworld book, was difficult, believe you me. Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2000 by Thanos6
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Discworld novel. Without a doubt.
The Discworld series is a brilliant and beautiful series of books. This is the best of them. Do I really need to give any further explanation? Alright then. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2000 by
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent read
Pratchett is possessed of a rare talent. In REAPER MAN, he balances his usual side-splitting antics with a poignant portrayal of Death down-sized.
Published on July 1 2000
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