4.0 out of 5 stars Madcap entertainment
Must say I'm enjoying the journey through Terry Pratchett's witty, weird mind. An almost entirely new cast of characters in this installment of Discworld, very human, ordinary folk who are thrown into extraordinary situations. The result is a funny, madcap spoof of ancient Egypt, legendary assassins, new age occult beliefs and pseudo-sciences, and, well, pyramid power. I...
Published 22 months ago by Lorina Stephens
3.0 out of 5 stars It's still Discworld, but not Pratchett's best
This book doesn't seem to hold up to the rest of his books so far in the series. It's still a good book, don't get me wrong... I just feel that it doesn't carry the same weight as the others....
Published on Aug. 31 2001 by Scott Fischer
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4.0 out of 5 stars Madcap entertainment,
Must say I'm enjoying the journey through Terry Pratchett's witty, weird mind. An almost entirely new cast of characters in this installment of Discworld, very human, ordinary folk who are thrown into extraordinary situations. The result is a funny, madcap spoof of ancient Egypt, legendary assassins, new age occult beliefs and pseudo-sciences, and, well, pyramid power. I swear I heard Baldric (Tony Robertson of Black Adder fame)in there from time to time.
Despite the madcap, unpredictable quality of Pratchett's books, there is a sharply intelligent mind there and if you're not paying attention whole strings of references zoom by, never to be caught.
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing On The Shoulders Of My Ancestors,
Terry Pratchett's first novel, "The Carpet People", appeared in 1971. "Pyramids" is the seventh novel in his hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 1989. It's the first - and, to date, only - book to feature Teppic, and is largely set in his home country of Djelibeybi.
As the book opens, Teppic (or Pteppic) is approaching the end of his education at Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Assassins. (The final exam, if failed, tends to be very...<ahem>...final). However, there is more to Teppic than dressing very stylishly and inhuming only for vast amounts of money. With the very recent death of his father, he has also become King Pteppicymon XXVIII of Djelibeybi. Teppic's home country is very obviously based on Egypt : it's two miles wide, one hundred and fifty miles long and runs along the river Djel. It has driven itself bankrupt, having spent seven thousand years building pyramids for its monarchs - invariably on the country's most fertile soil. Having become the first Pharoh to be educated outside Djelibeybi, Teppic finds it difficult to re-adapt to the traditions of his home country. He is technically a God and although he is officially Head of State, it's Dios - the very aged High Priest - who actually runs the country. Teppic isn't entirely impressed about this - he wants to introduce proper plumbing and pillows, for example. However, in spite of the country's debt, he does agree to building a massive pyramid for his late father. (This isn't something his late father - still pottering around as a ghost - isn't too impressed with). The final straw comes when Dios decides to feed Ptraci - the late King's favourite handmaiden - to the crocodiles. Teppic decides to become a little more politically active - and, luckily, he has a helpful education to fall back on.
Like everything else I've read by Pratchett, this is an excellent book. It's easily read, features plenty of likeable characters and there are plenty of laughs. As it's one of Pratchett's stand-alone books, it's a good starting point if you've never read any of the Discworld books before. (In a way, I find that a pity : I'd love to have known what became of Teppic and Ptraci). Definitely recommended !
5.0 out of 5 stars Pyramid power--it's not just for razors any more,
Pyramids represents something of a detour in Pratchett's Discworld series. The principal action takes place in the heretofore unfamiliar land of Djelibeybi, located in northern Klatch across the Circle Sea from Anhk-Morpork. This is a unique realm of the Discworld, two miles wide and 150 miles long. It is often referred to as the Old Kingdom for a very good reason-it is quite old, over 7000 years old in fact. It is a desert land whose pharaohs are obsessed with pyramid-building; besides bankrupting the country, this obsession has also had the unforeseen consequence of keeping the country firmly entrenched in the past. Pyramids, you see, slow down time, and there are so many pyramids in Djelibeybi now that new time is continually sucked in by them and released nightly in flares. In a land where the same time is reused daily, it comes as something of a surprise when the pharaoh Teppicymon XXVII decides to send his son Teppic outside of the kingdom to get his education. Just after becoming a certified, guild-approved assassin, young Teppic is called upon to return home after his father suffers the unfortunate consequences attendant upon thinking he can fly. Three months into his reign, he basically loses his kingdom-literally. The Great Pyramid being built for his father's mummy is much too big, and eventually it causes the temporal dislocation of Djelibeybi from the face of the Discworld. Accompanied by the handmaiden Ptraci, whom he rescued from certain death, and a camel whose name would be edited were I to state it here, Teppic must find a way to restore his kingdom back to its proper place and time above the ground. The ordeal is only complicated further by the fact that all of the land's dead and thousands of gods suddenly have appeared in person, acting as if they own the place.
While its unusual setting and the fact that it features characters seen here and nowhere else makes this novel seem a little different from its fellow Discworld chronicles, I must admit it is quite an enjoyable read. Pratchett ingeniously incorporates ideas and practices from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece: pyramids, mummification, Greek philosophers, the Trojan War and its Horse in particular, etc. Teppic is an enjoyable enough character, but we never seem to delve deeply enough to understand him properly. I loved the brash handmaiden Ptraci and her fearless contempt for tradition. All of the dead pharaohs are quite funny, particularly in terms of their opinions on an afterlife spent shut inside a tomb inside an escape-proof pyramid. The subplot featuring the history of warfare between two neighboring kingdoms really helps make this novel a true winner. Perhaps the most interesting thing to be found in these pages, though, is the actual identity and thought processes of Discworld's greatest mathematician. There is also much to amuse and delight fans of temporal dislocation theories-the pyramid builders make many incredible discoveries in the process of building the Great Pyramid, not the least of which is a means of utilizing the structure's innate time loop to call forth several different selves to help make sure the job is finished in the allotted time.
Even though this book is funny and satisfying enough to stand on its own, I would not start my Discworld reading with it. Aside from Teppic's time spent in Anhk-Morpork learning to be an assassin, the action takes place outside the much more familiar lands we encounter time and again in the other novels. Of course, Pratchett devotees will want to read it for the very reason that it acquaints us with a strange, otherwise unfamiliar section of the Discworld.
5.0 out of 5 stars A nation with a lot of time on its collective hands ...,
Despite not featuring Unseen University or the witches of the Ramtop Mountains, this is my favorite Discworld book.
After hinting at it in "Wyrd Sisters," Pratchett paints an engaging portrait of life in the Ankh-Morporkk Assassin's Guild. The suave, stylish, chic and, well, murderous life as an apprentice assassin is, against all logic, made sort of appealing and cool, like an academy for future James Bonds.
Then our protagonist, Teppic, is cruelly jerked back to his reality -- he's the son of the pharoah in the Kingdom of the Sun, and his father has just died. The cosmopolitan Teppic has to face what are, to him, backwards and outdated customs the rest of the world has left behind centuries ago. He's right, of course, and the mystery as to what's really happening in his kingdom spins out at Teppic tries to adapt himself to life as pharoah, and try to drag the kingdom into modern times.
Along the way, there is the ghost of his father, who mournfully watches his own body being prepared for the afterworld, a sassy handmaiden, and a mysterious and forbidding high priest. Toss in the greatest mathematician on Discworld -- not a biped, though -- a parody of Ancient Greece, and a graduate assassin turned pirate, and you've got a rollicking cast plunging towards a very local sort of doomsday.
The ending is a touch ambiguous for my tastes -- Pratchett was trying to use a light touch and went a touch TOO light for my tastes -- but overall, this is an engaging, amusing and even somewhat thoughtful Discworld novel, and one that stands alone even better than most.
By the order of the pharoah, this is strongly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Read The Books In Order,
By A Customer
This was the first of the Discworld series that I read, it was recommended to me by a friend and was her favorite of the series. I did like the book, but I found it a little hard to understand, but I think that if I would have read the Discworld books in order, I would understand it more. So when I get the time, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Gormenghast in Ancient Egypt,
First of all, I loved this novel. Teppic is a great guy who grows up as we read. The very name of Teppic's country, Djelibeybi, made me giggle, and the final exam in the Assassins' School had me at the edge of my chair until Teppic -- whew! -- makes the right decision. It's fun to look for the sources of Pratchett's plots (and satires). Did anyone else notice the similarities between this one and the first two of the Gormenghast trilogy? Not just Daddy's becoming a bird, but the dark ambience, Teppic's strange rivals and relatives, and the liberating finale. This book isn't my absolute favorite of Pratchett's (those accolades are reserved for the Watch novels and REAPER MAN), but it's a far cut above the Rincewind tales -- and better than the Gormenghast novels, since it examines all problems, including the hilarious ones, that trouble the inheritor of vast inbred territories.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Discworld Book Yet,
Recently I became a fan of Terry Pratchett, after having read The Color of Magic. I continued to read the series in order, and I just finished reading Pyramids. Immediately I liked this book, because I found the Assassins Guild fascinating, and I thought Teppic was an interesting and cool main character.
The plot goes something like this: Teppic was born in Djelibeybi (a sort of ancient Egypt-like country) and was sent to Ankh-Morpork when he was 12 to become an assassin. Just after Teppic passes the final test, his father dies and he has to return to Djelibeybi to be king. When he arrives, he realizes a pyramid has to be built for his father, and he orders that it be the biggest pyramid in the valley, with labyrinths and statues and so forth. But the pyramid is -so- big and powerful that it somehow alters the fabric of time and space, and puts Djelibeybi into its own little dimension, separate from the outside world. It's now Teppic's job as king (and a god) to make things right, even if the High Priest likes to twist everything he says.
Thrown into the mix is the mysteriously old High Priest named Dios; the best mathemetician in the world (a camel); a handmaiden named Ptraci; the gods coming to life and freaking everyone out; and thousands of dead 'ancestors' lurching around and complaining about their pyramids. The story is humorous, as are all of Pratchett's books, and the characters are very likeable. And for those of you who like romance, there is definitely some of that (which I was glad of).
Some reviewers complain that the plot is thin and the characters are under-developed, but I must disagree. So far this is my favorite Discworld book, and I'm pretty sure it will stay that way. This is well worth buying, even if you're not a huge Discworld fan!
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Egypt gets the Pratchett treatment,
Pyramids is yet another Discworld novel from Terry Pratchett, though it doesn't take place in the same setting as the other novels in the series. Instead, it takes place in "The Old Kingdom," and is take-off on ancient Egypt. How does it fare?
Let's call it a triple. It's wonderfully funny, and definitely a 5-star book. It only suffers in comparison to the other Discworld books that I've read, in that it takes awhile before it's laugh out loud funny. The whole book is definitely worth reading though, and your patience will be rewarded in spades once things actually start happening.
The book is about Teppic, the son of the king, who has gone to Ankh-Morpork to learn to be an assassin. The first section of the book consists of scenes of his final examination intercut with scenes of his joining the assassins' school. This section has its amusing moments, but it didn't make me guffaw like the City Watch trilogy of books did. The section gives information on Teppic's character, which does inform the rest of the book, and is thus valuable. It was just missing something.
There are also scenes back in the Kingdom, where Teppic's father is going a bit insane. He ends up falling off of a balcony while identifying with the local seagulls. Thus, Teppic is drawn back home to take his place. When Teppic gets back, he finds most of the rituals and values that dominate the kingdom grate with the values that he learned while he was in Ankh-Morpork. Meanwhile, Teppic's dad is dead, and he's not liking it.
Things steamroll from there, and I won't give away any of the rest of the stuff. Once Teppic gets back home, things get a lot better in this book. The laughs come very frequently, and nothing is spared from Pratchett's wit. The take-off on the Trojan Horse story has to be seen to be believed, as well as the Philospher's Cafe. And next time you see a camel, you'll be wondering what's going through his head.
The main problem with the book is that it seems a bit detached from the situation. In the City Watch books, most of the humour comes directly out of what is happening, making the events that Pratchett is describing feel important, at least to the characters. Pyramids, though, seems different than that. The jokes are funny, but the events that they are coming out of seem very inconsequential when you think about it. And when the event in question is as big as it is in this book (can't say more without spoilers), inconsequential is the last thing it should feel like.
Still, that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the book. Some people don't like the zany, madcap type of humour that Pratchett delivers, and they should stay away from it. But it's certainly worth a pick up for anybody with a funny bone.
5.0 out of 5 stars phun phor pharoahs?,
One of his better parodies. I guess I find the math humor phunny too, what with the sons of the pyramid builder having to develop calculus so that he could pay the wages in more than three dimensions.... And I will never look at a camel in the same way again. My boys and husband just split a gut laughing over the plot of this one.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Pratchett's Best.,
As a relatively new fan of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series, I was so impressed by what he wrote so far I started to believe that everything from the series will be brilliant and excellent. Therefore, despite the fact other books sounded better, I picked "Pyramids" at random. And also because
... All I can say is, even the best writers can make mistakes now and then - and that I will be more careful next time.
About the book: Pyramids is set in Djelibeibey, which is the Discworld equivalent of Ancient Egypt. The main character is Teppic, the son of the Pharaoh who gets sent to Assassin's school in Ankh-Morpork for a few years, only to come back exactly when his father dies and he becomes the new Pharoah of the kingdom. The plot gets complicated by the building of a pyramid which is bigger than any pyramid which has ever been built in the kingdom. This pyramid somehow twists the rules of space, time and belief to create a big mess.
Does this sound a big vague? To me it does - and the story feels confused and vague to the end. Many plot lines aren't fully explored, many characters aren't fully developed.. the plot is very thin, it feels as if it leads nowhere. Even the jokes in the book weren't as witty as the other Discworld novels I have read. It's a pity since the premise has a lot of potential, and Teppic is cool as the main character.
What can I say, I guess Pratchett is human after all, even great authors can do less than perfect every now and then. Was I disappointed? Yes. Will I continue to read more Pratchett novels? You bet! I guess I would recommend this book only to people who are absolutely die hard fans of Discworld.. for anybody else I would say, Skip this one.
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Pyramids by Terry Pratchett (Audio Cassette - June 1995)
Used & New from: CDN$ 31.84