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Carpe Jugulum
By Terry Pratchett

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Carpe Jugulum
A Discworld Novel
By Terry Pratchett
Charnwood Large Print, (2005)
ISBN: 1-84395-643-8
Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - March 14, 2005

Terry Pratchett scores another win with Carpe Jugulum, the twenty-third addition to Pratchett's fabulous Discworld series. Carpe Jugulum is so funny that I got the giggles so bad I almost fell off my chair while reading this book! With more than thirty Discworld novels to his credit, it is amazing that Pratchett's stories remain so compelling, entertaining, and original. This addition to the series feature a horde of urbane, and oh so deadly vampires, a coven or two of delightfully complex witches (including one witch who is really two witches), a handful of pixies, and a slightly repellent and throughly stuffy priest - to mention a few of the interesting characters that you'll meet within the pages of this book.

The main plot of Carpe Jugulum follows the attempt by a group of devious vampires to seize control of the Kingdom of Lancre, which just happens to be guarded by a group of witches with such delightful names as Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick. The title of the book comes from the vampires' motto, Carpe Jugulum, which is Latin for Seize the Throat. The vampires, under the leadership of Count de Magpyr, enter the Kingdom at the invitation of the King. They've been invited to the christening of the King's daughter. However, once there, they try to exert a form of mind control over the residents. Their goal is to turn the Kingdom into their own private blood bank, feeding off their Lancre raised stock at will. The witches, however, are not as malleable as the 'normal' people, and they battle the vampires in a series of Pratchettesk battles that will have you shaking your head over his use of puns and garlic.

To enliven the encounter, Pratchett throws in a fair share of priestly encounters between the Pries, Mightily Oats, and the vampires. As you can expect, large dollops of holy water and stakes are spread throughout the story. Fighting the vampires alone, Priest Oats has little hope of ridding the Kingdom of the Vampiric scourge. The only hope for the Kingdom lies in the ability of the witches and this lone priest to work in unison - something that is easier said than done. Other jolly entries to the cast of characters include Igor, of Frankenstein fame, who makes an appearance as the Vampires' servant. And, as one would expect with such deadly going ons, Death, in full regalia, and his dog, also show up on a number of occasions. Oh, and did I forget to mention that in Lancre the normal things that kill vampires, like sunlight - don't.

From beginning to end, this is a witty and entertaining story. To be honest, I'm a huge fan of the Discworld series, and I haven't read one that I haven't like. But for what it is worth, this is by far one of my favorites! This is a must read for any fan of the series. Best of all, Carpe Jugulum is a stand-alone book, and it provides an excellent opportunity for anyone curious about the series to sample a little of Pratchett's unique brand of satire. Be forewarned, once you start, you'll not stop until you've read every book in the series!

Carpe Jugulum can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.

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