Monstrous Regiment Hardcover – Oct 2003
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Pratchett flexes his satirical muscles again, with the follies of war his theme. Polly Oliver has disguised herself as a boy to join the army of Borogravia, which is always at war and bursting with patriotism, though the Borogravians are often less than clear on why they are fighting. But then, as followers of a god who believes that cats, babies, and cheese are abominations, they are used to contradictions; they mostly pray to their duchess, who may be dead. Their latest war has interfered with the commerce of Ankh-Morpork, which has dispatched Sam Vimes to bring matters to a "satisfactory" conclusion. But Sam still thinks more like the city watchman he was than the duke he now is, and this confuses people. Meanwhile, Polly's regiment, the Ins-and-Outs, has become quite high-profile, what with having, it is said, a vampire, a werewolf, and an Igor in its ranks, and with capturing, quite unexpectedly, the Zlobenian prince and his soldiers, an event publicized by Ankh-Morpork newspaperman William de Worde. Anyway, they're suddenly popular in Ankh-Morpork, and they subsequently turn the war upside down, so that it doesn't end the way the propagandists would have liked. No surprise, of course, to Sam Vimes. Polly concludes that it is, on some level, all about socks. Thoroughly funny and surprisingly insightful. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"You ride along on his tide of out-landish invention, realizing that you are in the presence of a true original among contemporary writers — a fantasist who loves naff humour and silly names, and yet whose absurd world is, at heart, a serious portrait of the jingoistic fears that keep us at each other’s throats’"
—The Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the notable aspects of the Discworld series as a whole is it sometimes takes the traditional fantasy setting and uses it to explore issues that reflect reality. Monstrous Regiment does this as well. The setting is very focused on the group of main characters, and what happens to them. One of the really interesting parts of this book is that it could be a story in any war setting, only some of the characters and situations remind the reader that the book is a fantasy story. This shows that the fantasy genre is not limited to entirely unreal stories.
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes the Discworld series, and to anyone who is interested in the variety of the fantasy genre. People who like war related stories might also like it, if they do not mind the fantasy setting.
Polly Perks seeks her missing brother in the middle of a conflict none can explain nor justify. Hiding the fact that she's a girl, she slashes her golden curls, dons boys' clothes [including "special purpose" socks] and enlists to seek him out. Her military career is fraught with risk, but not just from battle. If she's exposed, the wrath of Nuggan, the local deity, will be boundless - dressing as a man is an Abomination. As are cats, the colour blue, garlic and a host of social ills. These are lined out in the Appendix of a bible - with the Appendix larger than the main inspirational text.
In Sam Vimes' view, Polly has entered a life of crime, but not through her cross-dressing. He thinks "war is a crime - like murder". Sam, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, has been sent to make a peace. When the stakes are as high as these - who rules the country - the task becomes Herculean. As with most wars, this one uses high moral purpose to camouflage baser selfish motives. A prince seeks power.Read more ›
Told in Pratchett's usually dryly witty style, it follow Polly as she sets off to find her brother who went off to war the year before. To do so, she must follow in his footsteps, join the army as Paul, and in so doing, she learns, among other things, the importance of scratching, spitting, and the value of socks. Good fun all round.
Polly is young, smart and courageous. With her hair cut short, in men's clothes and imitating some "typical" male habits, she easily fools the recruiting officers. Or does she? Polly has several reasons to join the war effort - she needs to find her soldier brother who has not been writing home. Also, she has not really much to look forward to in this country. Borogravia is run by a Duchess who may or not be alive, and the local deity, Nuggan, who issues strict rules for his followers, reflected in an ever expanding list of "Abominations". These become stranger as time moves on. They include a ban on the colour blue, having your picture taken, newspapers, or the use of garlic. Not only should girls not wear trousers, they cannot own land, houses or run a business. Women's lives are clearly very restricted.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Terry Pratchett always delivers a great read, but this one in particular is a refreshing, surprising, funny, dark look at human kind. Read morePublished 6 months ago by elli weisbaum
more fun with those wacky Discworlders, although I found the ending weakPublished 22 months ago by James Parsons
A little different from others in the series, and took me a lttle longer to read that others (didn't pick it up and read it in 2 days as usual... Read morePublished on March 13 2012 by C. Burman
"Monstrous Regiment" is the twenty eighth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld Series. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2007 by Craobh Rua
I adore Terry Pratchett's novels, especially the Discworld series. I think he's one of the best living writers and I admire his deft touch at weaving together humour and... Read morePublished on Dec 13 2005 by D. Mosey