Wintersmith – Terry Pratchett

Another Autumn, another Pratchett book. This year’s event is the third in his series about young witch Tiffany Aching, previously seen in The Wee Free Men[1] and A Hat Full of Sky[2], and is described as “A Story of Discworld” rather than “A Discworld Novel”, which is how Terry (or maybe it’s just the publisher) distinguishes books written for children (but widely read by adults) from the books written for adults (but widely read by children). Most fans will ignore such distinctions and just get on with the book, perhaps trying to stretch it out as it’s a year is a long time to wait for the next one.

Tiffany is just turning thirteen, and continuing to develop her skills as a witch. But when she makes the mistake of getting involved in a Morris Dance[3], she finds herself, and the whole of the Discworld in a lot of trouble. In the Discworld’s strong magical field, metaphors can take on reality, and elemental forces can become almost human. The best-known of these is Death[4], but now we meet the Wintersmith, who brings Winter. Only now he’s becoming more human, and seems to have fallen for Tiffany. So much so that he never wants to leave…

To set things right, Tiffany will need all her power and the support of her fellow witches[6], not to mention the Nac Mac Feegle, a mob of small, blue skinned, argumentative and fiercely loyal fairies. Except you wouldn’t want to call them fairies. Not while they can hear you, anyway. The Feegles talk in a dialect not altogether unlike something you might hear from somebody with a slight Scottish accent. Fortunately, a glossary of common Feegle expressions is provided.

It is, of course, all good fun. There are jokes, running gags, and a lot of humour in the way familiar characters react to new situations (Granny Weatherwax, kitten. What will happen?), and a good story. Or rather Story. Because that’s what Tiffany has to deal with – the power of the Story of Summer and Winter, which like many others takes a life of its own on the Discworld.

And if you think I’m giving any more away, you’re mistaken. Buy it, borrow it, or even wait for the paperback, but read it.



[3] If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky. Some things are best not spoken of :eek2:
[4] Tall chap, bit skinny, cloak, hood, scythe, white horse[5], Talks in Echoing Capitals
[5] Called Binky
[6] There’s a lot more of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg this time round, which is always a Good Thing