book: Terry Pratchett “Monstrous Regiment”

January 11, 2010

Monstrous Regiment” is a bit a departure for me in Terry Pratchett books.  I started by reading through all the books about The Watch (I thought) and Industrial Revolution themes and the main Death books.  So I did some online research to decide which series to go for next only to find that “Monstrous Regiment” is classified by some people as a Guard story.

This is certainly a great little story of a small Discworld country of Borogravia which is perpetually at war with it’s neighbors.  The god of Borogravia, Nuggan, seems to have gone a little crazy continually adding amendments to scripture which make more and more things an Abomination unto Nuggan ( “the last three abominations were against rocks, ears and accordion players”).  Among these, it is an abomination for a woman to dress as a man.  Which makes it very dangerous for Polly who disguises herself as a boy to signing up to the army in what appears to be the last recruits to join up.  It seems after a while that she may not be alone.

The story follows the recruits under the leadership of Sergeant Jackrum as they come to learn that they are not on the winning side of this war and that their god Nuggan has abandoned them.  I have to say The Guard aren’t in the book much but Sam Vimes is a Special Envoy from Ankh-Morpork “which is kind of like an ambassador but without the little gold chocolates.” and has a few fellow guards on call.

I really enjoyed this one, it doesn’t slow at all and the whole gender equality and blind faith debate is interesting and well woven through the story.