Returning to Discworld with Terry Pratchett

If you are a fan of fantasy and don’t love Terry Pratchett you simply don’t have a soul — or a funny bone.

Readers across the world have gobbled up his novels by the millions — with fan favorites set in Pratchett’s imaginative Discworld: a planet traveling through space supported by four giant elephants standing on a gigantic turtle.

The Discworld series has many miniseries within it. My personal favorite being the story of young witch Tiffany Aching. This miniseries begins with “The Wee Free Men,” and continues with “A Hat Full of Sky” and “Wintersmith.” Pratchett concludes Tiffany’s story with his latest release, “I Shall Wear Midnight.”

Tiffany has grown up a lot after all her years studying witchcraft, learning how to care for those in need. And now she’s on her own as the witch of the Chalk. Well, not completely alone. Her old friends the Feegles are always close by.

Ah, the Nac Mac Feegles, aka the Wee Free Men. These tiny, blue, red-headed fellows have a knack for fighting, stealing and drinking — not necessarily in that order. They speak with a bit of a Scottish accent and occasionally stick their feet in their mouths. After one such occasion in “I Shall Wear Midnight,” Rob Anybody — the clan’s Big Man — scolds Daft Wullie for jokingly insulting Tiffany.

“Ye will bring tae mind, brother o’ mine, that there was times when ye should stick your head up a duck’s bottom rather than talk?”

Daft Wullie looked down at his feet. “Sorry, Rob. I couldna find a duck just noo.”

It’s dialogue like that which makes Pratchett’s books such a joy to read. But “Midnight” isn’t all funny faeries. Tiffany has much more responsibility. Worse, she’s having trouble caring for the needy because the townsfolk seem to be turning against her. It seems a dark force has been whispering nasty things in their ears — “Poison goes where poison’s welcome.”

That little nugget of wisdom is as much a trademark of Pratchett’s as his wit. Beneath the humor of all his books are questions of morality and the human condition. For that, Terry Pratchett is a treasure.

For readers unfamiliar with Tiffany Aching, I’d recommend starting the series from the beginning. For those who have read the previous books: Crivens! Youse scunners getcha tae a bookstoor.