War has come to Discworld...again. And, to no one's great surprise, the conflict centers around the small, insufferably arrogant, strictly fundamentalist duchy of Borogravia, which has long prided itself on its ability to beat up on its neighbors. 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. 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.
Polly is afraid that someone will see through her disguise; a fear that proves groundless when the legendary Sergeant Jackrum accepts her without question. Or perhaps the sergeant is too desperate 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. Soon, Polly 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.
"Terry Pratchett's hilarious prose is significantly enhanced by the narrative skills of Stephen Briggs....Briggs and Pratchett are magnificent." (AudioFile)
"Thoroughly funny and surprisingly insightful." (Booklist)
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Let the Socks do the Talking
I always have difficulty sorting out a horde of new characters and the various voices help do that for me.
Any time one of the Igor clan is in a Discworld book I expect to see the world in a new way; and with an Igor's help that could be literal!
As with all audiobooks you get an added dimension by hearing the story rather than reading it. Steven Briggs brings exquisite pacing and depth to the characters he becomes. I think he really understands what is being said, why it is important to the people in the scene and he loves (or hates) the characters as much as I do. I can see Sergeant Jackram, big as a bull and twice as loud; a John Madden-type in a different uniform.
Briggs doesn't just read the book, he gives it color - octarine to be precise.
Monstrous Regiment is satire, so generally you either love it or hate it. It picks at war, which I think Americans of our generation have not experienced in the same way that Europeans of the same age have, so each will see the book in a different light. There were hardships on all sides, we all lost people, but in the US we didn't lose our homes or our food supply on top of it all. The story is darkly humorous.
It also picks at fundamental religions of the type where people follow "the word" blindly and draws a clever little parallel to the Fourth Estate.
My favorite piece of the book, and the first place I laughed right out loud is paraphrased as follows:Having dismissed the newspaper reporter (i.e., war correspondent) who is reluctant to end the interview, Lt. Blouse, in full uniform with his sword across his knee says, "It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword", and while the reporter is acknowledging the statement the Lt. continues, "Would you care to test it?"
I could just imagine the two men sitting out there in the woods, one with his hand resting casually on his sword and the other sitting up straight gripping his pen with white knuckles, both understanding how quickly the power had shifted and how unlikely it was to tilt back.
I laughed for 2 miles!
It would be good if you could read or listen to some of the earlier books in the series, but it isn't necessary, although it does mean you have a few spoilers if you later listen to the earlier parts. This was my first Discworld Novel back in about 2007 and I have listened to almost all of the rest and this one several times over since that time.
Anybody else have a good scubbo recipe they want to share?
- Beth McKenzie