Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
SourceryFor centuries wizards have been content living at the Unseen University, occasionally traveling around Discworld. Their magic isn’t grand, but they are happy with what they can do. The last Archancellor has died and the wizards are about to name a new one.
The night of the ceremony, Rincewind sees the animals and bugs abandoning the Unseen University. He figures if whatever is coming is frightening all the creatures away he should run, too. A long time ago he learned that the best way for him to stay alive is to run.
The ceremony was interrupted by a young boy with a tall metal staff. Coin is a sorcerer. He has come to claim the Archancellor position. A sorcerer is more powerful than any wizard. With a little “persuasion”, Coin takes over the Unseen University. He also believes wizards should be in charge of Discworld. The wizards’ power increases the longer they are with Coin. They abandon and destroy the old, spider ridden, dusty, dank, stone University and build a new tower of marble in Ankh-Morpork. Once that is established, Coin reaches out across the continents.
There is one to stand up against Coin and the wizards. The Archancellor’s hat has been worn by strong wizards for centuries. It has been imbued with their collective power. The hat knows that if a sorcerer should put it on, his power will be magnified even further. It has Conina steal it from the Unseen University before the sorcerer arrives. Finally the hat finds Rincewind and demands for the inept wizard to take it.
Conina is the best thief in Ankh-Morpork. She is a young barbarian who is trying to quit the field and become a hairdresser instead. Her instincts have her grabbing knives, rocks, or whatever will keep them alive as they travel through the darker side of Ankh-Morpork. Through misadventures they find themselves in Al Khali, a desert kingdom very different from what they’ve known. They meet the Seriph who runs the kingdom and Nijel the Destroyer, a young man who is studying to be a barbarian. When the grand vizier in Al Khali puts on the Archancellor’s hat, war ensues between he and Coin across the world. Rincewind convinces his small group to run again.
Sourcery is full of tongue-in-cheek and full fledged humor. Terry Pratchett has fun with Rincewind – for example, when he tells his group to run, Nijel wants to know where to. Rincewind says it’s not “to” that matters, from rather to run “from”. Yet somehow this inept wizard manages to save the world yet again.
Conina and Nijel are good comic relief characters as first they lead Rincewind, then trail him. Discworld is on the verge of destruction. Even the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse get involved. The sedate wizards at the Unseen University suddenly have greater magical abilities and get punch drunk with their power. Coin is in the throes of… well, he’s not in control. He’s just a kid.
Smile, laugh, or shake your head. Terry Pratchett makes the reader do all of that in Sourcery.