To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.
Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work - as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital...but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse....
Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails....
©2013 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
"The history of the railway - Discworld style!"
I would recommend this book to any fan of the Discworld (who will probably already have bought it) but I wouldn't suggest starting with this book if you haven't read any of the Discworld before. This book refers to a lot of past events and includes cameos from a lot of familiar characters that would be lost on anyone who had not read any of the Discworld series before.
The book itself is entertaining and follows on with the theme of the integration of different species into Ankh Morpork and how they adapt to the changes and challenges of the 'modern' world - in particular the dwarfs. This story strand has been tackled before by Pratchett and Raising Steam develops some of the ideas that first appeared in The Fifth Elephant and Thud! It also recounts the gradual acceptance of goblins into a role in the city, following on from their initial 'emancipation' in Snuff. Each of these races has a very different reaction to the arrival of the railway on the Disc.
The book is nominally a Moist von Lipwig story, but actually is quite different to Going Postal and Making Money since it contains so many other characters too.
This isn't a five star novel for me, mainly because it feels like Pratchett is trying to pack too much information into the first section and it takes a while for the novel to develop into the familiar style of a Discworld novel.
Probably Moist's fight alongside the Goblins with the delvers who have crossed the line - there is a new edge of brutality in this novel which I don't think is present in some of Pratchett's earlier novels. Pratchett is definitely exploring a darker side to the Disc in recent novels.
I have several books narrated by Stephen Briggs and for me he is the ultimate Discworld narrator. He voices the characters exactly as I imagine them and brings the story to life - I own this novel both in print and in audio and found that Briggs's performance actually added to the story and made some of the longer passages of character introspection more entertaining.
"Should come with a spotter's guide and an anorak"
Yes, the style's changed from most Discworld books, but that change was evident in Snuff too so I'm not sure why people seem so surprised by this. I don't like the long, unnatural speeches the characters make in the later books when apparently in conversation, but it didn't bother me as much in this book as it did in Snuff. Get past this, and the style is different but no less Pratchett.
What this novel really is, for the first half of the book at least, is a spotter's guide to Discworld, its characters and its history (nicely appropriate that - this book should really come with a ticklist and an anorak). I'm in no doubt that this book would be a real turn-off if I came to it cold or having read only one or two other DW books, but the first half of the book is so dense with old characters popping up, and sly references to events in past books, that I couldn't help but enjoy it - it made me feel like a complete geek to be honest. And the events whizzed past, with humour and quite a lot of darkness (lots of people killed in this book!) only really interrupted by the odd monologues Terry seems to love now.
The main train journey itself was well-written. I won't give anything away but the fantasy climax of this book, the most fantastic moment, is one of the best 'images' Pratchett has painted in his novels. The relationship between characters who'd previously not been in close quarters - particularly Vimes and Moist - was also intruiging.
There are some nice little twists toward the end of this novel too, which make this feel much more like Discworld of old than UA or Snuff.
This one's for readers already well-familiar with the Discworld. As I said, spotter's guide defintely needed!
(Stephen Briggs brilliant as usual too)
"Long awaited 40th Discworld novel"
Discworld meets Railroad
Going Postal or Making Money also by Sir Terry.... These are the first two Moist Von Lipwig novels.
Good and humorous delivery as always with Stephen Briggs.
Laughed out loud... For real this time
Discworld meets the industrial revolution and railroad.... All the usual and much loved Pratchett humour and style. A great listen (and read). Highly recommended to the young of heart of all ages.
Yet another brilliantly read book by Mr Briggs. Perfect voices for the characters imo and with writing of the quality of Mr Pratchett you would expect nothing else.
Every little thing we think off re steam era is captured within and as usual it is perfectly paced.
"Another excellent story from Sir Terry Pratchett"
The whole story is a great listen. A developed plot revolutionising the disc world. I particularly liked the way all the old disc world characters have been intertwined in the story with new characters.
Another great performance by Stephen Briggs. He brings the characters to life.
A must for all disc world fans.
I'm a huge Pratchett fan and was a bit nervous that this wouldn't live up to it, but this narrator definitely does it justice.
I enjoyed it in parts as it can be funny and i would say it is very well written but the story doesn't go anywhere and lets it down.
"Pretty darn good"
Lovely book, recording seems to be in 2 chunks, so the change is a bit jarring
loved this book
kept me entertained on the numerous times i have listened to it well read
i highly recomend it
as always a wonderful story by the late lamented sir terry
well paced and Pratchett at his normal best
laughing in awkward places as usual like on the train
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