"Pratchett has now moved beyond the limits of humorous fantasy, and should be recognized as one of the more significant contemporary English-language satirists." — Publishers Weekly
The twentieth novel in the hilarious and irreverent Discworld series from New York Times bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Hogswatchnight, when the Hogfather himself dons his red suit and climbs in his sleigh pulled by—of course—eight hogs, to shower gifts across Discworld. But when the fat man goes missing, someone has to sit in. It’s up to Death to take up the reigns—otherwise the sun won’t shine tomorrow . . . or ever again.
Who would want to harm Discworld's most beloved icon? Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless—and oddly familiar—universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly, old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there's something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins' Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork's rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld's entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man's vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death's level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it.
The Discworld novels can be read in any order, but Hogfather is the fourth book in the Death series.
The master of humorous fantasy delivers one of his strongest, most conventional books yet. Discworld's equivalent of Santa Claus, the Hogfather (who flies in a sleigh drawn by four gigantic pigs), has been spirited away by a repulsive assassin, Mr. Teatime, acting on behalf of the Auditors who rule the universe and who would prefer that it exhibited no life. Since faith is essential to life, destroying belief in the Hogfather would be a major blow to humanity. It falls to a marvelously depicted Death and his granddaughter Susan to solve the mystery of the disappeared Hogfather, and meanwhile to fill in for him. On the way to the pair's victory, readers encounter children both naughty and nice; gourmet banquets made of old boots and mud; lesser and greater criminals; an overworked and undertrained tooth fairy named Violet; and Bilious, the god of hangovers, among other imaginative concepts. The tone of much of the book is darker than usual for Pratchett--for whom "humorous" has never been synonymous with "silly"--and his satire, too, is more edged than usual. (One scene deftly skewers the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas.") Pratchett has now moved beyond the limits of humorous fantasy, and should be recognized as one of the more significant contemporary English-language satirists. U.K. rights: Victor Gollanz, The Cassell Group; trans., first serial, dramatic, audio rights: Ralph Vicinanza.
I loved the social commentary about Christmas, consumerism, and social inequality. I also loved the commentary on human belief and mythology. I know neither was the point of the book, but I enjoyed it all the same. I also enjoyed the story. What’s not to love about Death filling in for - and saving - the Hogfather (Santa)? I also liked how Death didn’t care about the rules and made sure kids got what was on their lists, no matter how much everyone told him he couldn’t.
If you’re new to Terry Pratchette , the wizard of Discworld, this is a great starter book. Sci-fi can be snarky fun and DEATH steals the show.
Am reading this after having seen the BBC video a couple of years ago, and having read only the Tiffany Aching quintet before this novel.
I snickered a lot reading this. A Yank, I’d never heard of Wow-Wow sauce, and now I’m curious.
There are parts of this book that resonate too strongly with current societal situations, bordering on omniscient and—I hope not—timeless. There are discussions about charity that need to be jammed into a few heads.
Perception and choices are threads wound through the plot. You can choose to read this as another Terry Pratchett experience, a seasonally apt book, winter fun, an anthropological study, a philosophical debate, any or all of the above, or in a completely different light.
I think, by whichever perceptual lens you read it, you’ll be happy you did.