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I heard about Nation by Terry Pratchett when I was doing one of my runs of reading through his Discworld series. At first, assuming it was yet another from the series I wasn't interested. I love the series but I'm over whelmed by it. It wasn't until I started reading the many enthusiastic reviews on my favorite book blogs that I realized it is a stand alone novel.
I bought my copy at the start of 2009 but life got in the way and before I knew it, the year was almost over by the time I read it. I wish I had read it sooner because I loved it. I haven't felt this strong a connection with a Pratchett novel since I read Colour of Magic on board the Rotterdam off the coast of Alaska.
Mau and the other boys have gone to nearby island to learn how to be men. They never get a chance. The volcano blows its top and nearly everyone is killed by the resulting tsunami. Normally they would be smart enough to run to high ground but they had been waiting for the boys to return.
It's not just a survival tale of Mau who believes he is the last of his kind. It's also a meeting of cultures. Daphne was aboard ship when the tsunami hit. Now she's washed ashore with Mau and the sole survivor of her ship. She and Mau have to learn to live together, communicate with each other if they are to survive.
Nation is a short book compared to some of his Discworld novels but it's just as complex and just as magical. Daphne's story and Mau's story together paint an alternate history of Earth.
Although Nation is not set on our Earth and place names are different, a basic understanding of historical events in the South Pacific will enrich the reading experience.
Comment #1: Tuesday, February, 2, 2010 at 15:58:57
Wow, thanks for this review! I had heard of NATION, but as yourself, I assumed it was another (awesome) Disc World novel, so it's great to know that I was wrong. Besides, the novel does seem interesting!
Comment #2: Friday, February 5, 2010 at 16:40:55
Nation ended up being one of the best Pratchett books I've read in years. I love his Discworld series of course but it was so refreshing to see him spreading his creative wings somewhere completely different.
How is it that I wasn't subscribed to either your blog or Kashicats? I've since rectified that. I hope you write more book review posts. I enjoyed reading your first.