Eric by Terry Pratchett is the ninth book in Pratchett’s Discworld series, and my son has just finished reading it to me as we wend our way through the whole series.
Eric is much shorter than the other Discworld novels, coming in at just over 150 pages.
It is based on the story of Faust and the pact that he makes with the devil, Mephistopheles. If you know the story already you will find this hugely entertaining. It also incorporates an enormous number of references to the Greek myths, and bastardises large parts of Dante’s Inferno.
Having read all these things, I found myself sniggering quite a lot in places where my nine year old couldn’t get the joke. He totally wiped the floor with me when it came to the Greek myths mind you. We have his obsession with Percy Jackson to thank for that.
Eric is a spotty, spoiled teenager who has indulgent parents who don’t really pay too much attention to what he gets up to. As such, they never put an restraints on his studies in demonology.
Eric raises what he believes to be a demon, and who he commands to give him the traditional three wishes. Unfortunately for Eric, he actually raises Rincewind the wizard, hero of the first few Discworld novels, who had been inadvertently sucked into the demon dimensions in the book Sorcery.
With Rincewind come his bad tempered luggage and a lot of chaotic happens which my son enjoyed enormously.
I can’t say it’s one of my favourite of the Discworld books. It’s rather too arch and wears its references on its sleeve rather, but it is fun and a romp, and the luggage is always good value.
I recommend it to teenagers because of the complexity of the language and a fair amount of swearing. I also recommend it to precocious smaller children who need something nearly grown up to stretch them.