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Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld
by Terry Pratchett

Published: 1998-10-07
Hardcover : 304 pages
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Better watch out ...

It's that time of year again. Hogswatchnight. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, to hang mistletoe and holly, and other stuff ending in olly.

‘Tis the season when the Hogfather himself dons his red suit and climbs in his sleigh pulled by -- of course! -- eight hogs and ...

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Introduction

Better watch out ...

It's that time of year again. Hogswatchnight. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, to hang mistletoe and holly, and other stuff ending in olly.

‘Tis the season when the Hogfather himself dons his red suit and climbs in his sleigh pulled by -- of course! -- eight hogs and brings gifts to all the boys and girls of Discworld.

But this year, there's a problem. A stranger has taken the place of the Hogfather. Well, not exactly a stranger. He's actually pretty well known. He carries a scythe along with his bag of toys, and he's going to SLEIGH everyone he sees tonight.

Ho ho ho.

Even the laugh is wrong. The switch has been arranged by the Auditors, mysterious superbeings who want our universe to be a collection of rocks swinging in curves through space. Life is messy. Why not get rid of it? And who better than -- you know who?

Somebody has to rescue the real Hogfather before this morbid impostor tracks soot on the world's carpets. It's up to Ankh-Morpork's intellectual elite, the assembled wizards of Unseen University -- with the help of a monster-bashing nanny, the world's worst inventor, plus a bona-fide, honest-to-god god (the oh god of hangovers, to be precise) -- to come up with a plan to save the universe.

And they'd better hurry. The bogus Hogfather is asking the wrong questions. Like: How come rich kids get all the nice toys? How come the poor kids are left with the cheap stuff?

"That's life," he is told.

Which cuts no ice with Death.

Editorial Review

What could more genuinely embody the spirit of Christmas (or Hogswatch, on the Discworld) than a Terry Pratchett book about the holiday season? Every secular Christmas tradition is included. But as this is the 21st Discworld novel, there are some unusual twists.

This year the Auditors, who want people to stop believing in things that aren't real, have hired an assassin to eliminate the Hogfather. (You know him: red robe, white beard, says, "Ho, ho, ho!") Their evil plot will destroy the Discworld unless someone covers for him. So someone does. Well, at least Death tries. He wears the costume and rides the sleigh drawn by four jolly pigs: Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter. He even comes down chimneys. But as fans of other Pratchett stories about Death (Mort, Reaper Man, and Soul Music) know, he takes things literally. He gives children whatever they wish for and appears in person at Crumley's in The Maul.

Fans will welcome back Susan, Death of Rats (the Grim Squeaker), Albert, and the wizardly faculty of Unseen University, and revel in new personalities like Bilious, the "oh god of Hangovers." But you needn't have read Pratchett before to laugh uproariously and think seriously about the meanings of Christmas. --Nona Vero

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