If ever one needs an example of practice makes perfect, read an early Discworld novel and then read Snuff. With Snuff, the Pratchett pair have written a delightful, gracefully paced and poignant novel. It's full of humour too.
The story stars a frequent character in Discworld novels, Commander Sam Vimes. He has matured along with the books, but retained his core character that endears him to both myself and his wife Lady Sybil Ramkin. However, like all Discworld novels, the book contains a delightful ensemble cast, with Willikins, Chief Constable Upshot and Lady Sybil being just a few interesting people that I would love to know better.
In Snuff, Terry Pratchett has composed a well-paced plot that moves steadily along, introducing multiple threads, to eventually tie up many in an satisfying way. Snuff has none of the indulgent flights of fancy that appeared in some of the earlier novels, and just the right number of side-tracks.
Of course, like all good Pratchett novels, Snuff contains a light, but thoughtful meditation on several significant philosophical issues. Three that stuck in my mind are the 'rule of law', slavery and the treatment of minorities on the fringe of society. I can think of no more entertaining manner to consider a complex issue than read a Pratchett novel.
But let me not forget the lashings of humour that Snuff contains. In the course of Sam's journey into the countryside, Pratchett lovingly pokes fun at cricket, Jane Austin novels and the countryside itself.
With Snuff, the Pratchett pair have written their best novel yet!
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