One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical rat pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed hint out of town.
They'd have been really amazed if they'd ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the money.
The Amazing Maurice runs the perfect Pied Piper scam. This streetwise alley cat knows the value of cold, hard cash and can talk his way into and out of anything. But when Maurice and his cohorts decide to con the town of Bad Blinitz, it will take more than fast talking to survive the danger that awaits. For this is a town where food is scarce and rats are hated, where cellars are lined with deadly traps, and where a terrifying evil lurks beneath the hunger-stricken streets...
Set in Terry Pratchett's widely popular Discworld, this masterfully crafted, gripping listen is both compelling and funny. When one of the world's most acclaimed fantasy writers turns a classic fairy tale on its head, no one will ever look at the Pied Piper or rats the same way again!
©2001 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
I was never a big fan of this Pratchett. Like his other children's books (e.g. Tiffany Aching) it's darker than most Discworld series. Furthermore, it has few truly likable characters (Darktan, Dangerous Beans, and Sardines), and more than its fair share of mildly distasteful antiheroes (scheming Maurice, stupid-looking Keith, bossy Malicia, hidebound Hamnpork to name just a few...). I'd probably only read the hardcover twice (vs. 6-12 times for Pratchett's others).
I was pleasantly surprised to hear Stephen Briggs take characters I found annoying and make them comical and sympathetic. He played up Maurice's dietary angst, made the rat catchers seem like two different people, and even made the Piper less douchey. Maurice's roaring 20's gangstery accent was perfect. I liked it so much, I immediately listened to it again. It's still nowhere near as fun as Moist von Lipwig or Sam Vimes, but as an audiobook, The Amazing Maurice is a solid entry in the Discworld canon.
The narrator does a particularly impressive job of having a distinct voice for each character.
Pratchett's writing is, of course, excellent.
Mom, Author, Teacher, and Critter Lover
I was thrilled with the release of one of my favorite Pratchett books on audio, but displeased to the extreme with the vocal performance. The voices for the animal characters and narrator are fine; the humans sound like caricatures. Keith and Malicia in particular are lacking; neither sound like children, and Malicia doesn't even sound female. There are text inaccuracies, on occasion, and while I understand why the German accents were chosen, they don't seem to fit the world of the book.
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