Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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The Sunday Morning "Catchup" Reviews - Number 2: The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents

Terry Pratchett is a writer who loves the underdog. Read through all the Discworld novels, and you'll see that it's the little people who act as the catalysts for change, the powerless who gain power, and those who reject destiny who achieve personal greatness.

The heroes of The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents can't get much smaller or downtrodden: they're rats. Not your everyday rat that scrabbles around in the rubbish pits, these are the rats that scrabbled around in the rubbish pits of Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University, the rats that ate the magical waste and became intelligent. Now, with Maurice, an ambitious cat, and a kid with a pipe, they tour the towns of the Discworld with a never-fail scam. Fake up a plague of rats, send in the kid with the pipe, and dance off into the sunset, pockets jingling with gold. It's a scam that's worked well up to now, at least until they arrive at the town of Bad Blintz.

In Bad Blintz someone is running a different scam, one that's not a simple con. This time people are going to get hurt, and the rats and Maurice are going to have to learn just how to build relationships with the rest of the world. It's not going to be easy, as there's something evil in the sewers, and it's getting into people's minds and trying to push things to its agenda.

Originally intended for a young adult audience, this is actually a very adult piece of work - it has themes that are deep and abiding, and the ultimate resolution one that is a lesson to us all. This isn't as angry a work as The Truth or The Last Hero, but it's still passionate, and obviously drawing on Pratchett's heart felt beliefs: At the end of the day, no matter what the provocation, the only real solution is to sit down and talk.

A short, but sweet work that grows the Discworld canon significantly. This is Pratchett at his most thoughtful for some time, and so is well worth reading.
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