Thief of Time is the twenty sixth novel in the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett, and one of my absolute favourites to read. I was so looking forward to sharing this with Oscar, and the experience did not disappoint. This is one of the series that really has stood the test of both time and quality for me.
The book features Lu Tse, who pops up in earlier novels, (Small Gods for example) who is one of the Monks of History. The Monks of History are a pastiche of all the martial arts/zen buddhist/karate stuff you’ve ever seen or read about. The abbot regenerates into a baby every time he is reborn, but retains all his wisdom along with needing his nappy changing and shouting ‘wanna bikkit’. The monastery has mandalas and mystically tended gardens, and time wheels powered by yak’s butter and Lu Tse shuffles amongst it all, the mysterious sweeper with a penchant for smoking dog ends and quoting his Ankh Morpork land lady’s gnomic wisdom.
Lu Tse has to take his assistant Lob Sang to Ankh Morpork to stop the auditors stopping time altogether because time and people do not mix without making a mess. There are cosmic clocks, more horsemen of the apocalypse than you would normally expect, passing references to Reservoir Dogs and in amongst it, creating order out of chaos, Death’s grand-daughter, Susan.
Full of jokes and wisdom and humanity, it’s hard to see how Pratchett pieces all this together to create a unified narrative, but he does, and it is glorious. It can be read on so many levels, and probably enjoyed on even more.