Synopses & Reviews
War has come to Discworld . . . again.
And, to no one's great surprise, the conflict centers on the small, insufferably arrogant, strictly fundamentalist duchy of Borogravia, which has long prided itself on it's ability to beat up on its neighbors for even the tiniest imagined slight. This time, however, it's Borogravia that's getting its long overdue comeuppance, which has left the country severely drained of young men.
Ever since her brother Paul marched off to battle a year ago, Polly Perks has been running The Duchess,her family's inn -- even though the revered national deity Nuggan has decreed that female ownership of a business is an Abomination (with, among others, oysters, rocks, and the color blue). To keep The Duchess in the family, Polly must find her missing sibling. So she cuts off her hair, dons masculine garb, and sets out to join him in this man's army.
Despite her rapid mastery of belching, scratching, and other macho habits (and aided by a well-placed pair of socks), Polly is afraid that someone will immediately see through her disguise; a fear that proves groundless when the recruiting officer, the legendary and seemingly ageless Sergeant Jackrum, accepts her without question. Or perhaps the sergeant is simply too desperate for fresh cannon fodder to discriminate -- which would explain why a vampire, a troll, a zombie, a religious fanatic, and two uncommonly close "friends" are also eagerly welcomed into the fighting fold. But marching off with little (read: no) training, Polly (now called "Oliver") finds herself wondering about the myriad peculiarities of her new brothers-in-arms. It would appear that Polly "Ozzer" Perks is not the only grunt with a secret. There is no time to dwell on such matters, however.Duty calls. The battlefield beckons. There's a tide to be turned.
And sometimes -- in war as in everything else -- the best man for the job is a woman.
"Surprisingly meaningful but never short of hilarious: a monstrous success for Pratchett." Kirkus Reviews
"Monstrous Regiment is most often spirited and shambolic, but it has some serious heft. Pratchett is on the side of those who make very little fuss, which means he gets to shiv those who do." Kerry Fried, The New York Times Book Review
"Pratchett flexes his satirical muscles again, with the follies of war his theme....Thoroughly funny and surprisingly insightful." Regina Schroeder, Booklist
"Pratchett takes full and unfairly hilarious advantage of the opportunity to skewer everything from military court martials to male swagger." Jennifer Howard, The Washington Post Book World
A splendid send-up of the art of war in all its glory and the brave women who wage it.
The 29th entry in Pratchett's internationally bestselling "Discworld" series explores the art of war and the brave women who wage it.
About the Author
With sales of over 30 million copies, Terry Pratchett's brilliantly funny and subtly wise books have been translated into more than 25 languages.
In addition to his novels about the fantastic flat planet Discworld, Mr. Pratchett has written several children's books, including The Bromeliad Trilogy and the books about Johnny Maxwell: Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Bomb, and Johnny and the Dead.
Mr. Pratchett won the Carnegie Medal for his first young adult novel set in Discworld, the amazing maurice and his educated rodents, which was also named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, one of the New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, and a Bank Street College Children's Book Committee Book of Outstanding Merit.
Mr. Pratchett lives in the English chalk country.
Reading Group Guide
1. Polly and her fellow comrades are forced to disguise themselves as boys because of the law forbidding female participation in the armed services. However, their female regiment succeeds where all men before them have failed. What is it about these girls that make them so successful?
2. The national deity, Nuggan, and his "Abominations" strictly control the lives of the people of Borogravia. What do you think Pratchett is trying to say about the integration of religion and government?
3. Polly feels that her regiment ends up being viewed as mascots instead of true soldiers, and is angered by this. Do you agree with her opinion or do you feel that they did, in fact, initiate change?
4. Do you think that Polly and the rest of her regiment will succeed as soldiers as they head off to war, yet again, at the end of the novel?