The Last Hero (Anglais) Broché – 13 septembre 2007
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Présentation de l'éditeur
Cohen the Barbarian.
He's been a legend in his own lifetime.
He can remember the good old days of high adventure, when being a Hero meant one didn't have to worry about aching backs and lawyers and civilization.
But these days, he can't always remember just where he put his teeth...
So now, with his ancient (yet still trusty) sword and new walking stick in hand, Cohen gathers a group of his old -- very old -- friends to embark on one final quest. He's going to climb the highest mountain of Discworld and meet the gods.
It's time the Last Hero in the world returns what the first hero stole. Trouble is, that'll mean the end of the world, if no one stops him in time.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Biographie de l'auteur
Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE, was the author of more than 70 books, including the internationally bestselling Discworld series of novels. His books have been adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal. In January 2009, Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry, who lived in England, died in March 2015 at the age of 66.
Paul Kidby became a freelance illustrator in 1986. Since then he has worked on projects ranging from computer game packaging to magazine covers. He began reading the Discworld novels in 1993 and was immediately inspired. He has produced, with Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, numerous Discworld items, including Discworld Diaries, The Discworld Portfolio, cards, book covers, and calendars. He lives in England.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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Sa vocation fut précoce : il publia sa première nouvelle en 1963 et son premier roman en 1971. D'emblée, il s'affirma comme un grand parodiste : La Face obscure du soleil (1976) tourne en dérision L'Univers connu de Larry Niven ; Strata (1981) ridiculise une fois de plus la hard S.-F. en partant de l'idée que la Terre est effectivement plate.
Mais le grand tournant est pris en 1983. Pratchett publia alors le premier roman de la série du Disque-Monde, brillant pastiche héroï-comique de Tolkien et de ses imitateurs.
Traduites dans plus de trente langues, Les Annales du Disque-Monde ont également donné lieu à nombre de produits dérivés ainsi qu'à des adaptations télévisées.
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... mais ses bouquins sont tellement mieux en anglais !...
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For those of us who have joined the roller coaster ride that is the Discworld novels, this coffee book production is must have if only for the great Kidby artwork. In fact, I think the book was more Paul Kidby's than Terry's. The all-too-short story, it seems to me, played second fiddle to the visualisation of well known characters like Rincewind, Carrot and Cohen.
Saying that though, the tale isnt half bad. Old Cohen the Barbarian, last seen in "Interesting Times", goes on a final big quest. He and his compatriots, the Silver Horde, may not survive the quest. Thats not the problem. The problem is Cohen's quest may cause the end of all life on the Disc. Enter Rincewind....
After growing up reading Disc books with cover art by Josh Kirby, its quite strange (but not much) to see a different version of well known characters. Rincewind as drawn by Kidby is younger and Carrot more handsome. The Librarian is...dare I say it?...cute and Ponder Stibbons looks like Harry Potter.
But the most beautiful of all are the splash pages throughout the book. Great A'Tuin, City of Ankh-Morpork, the sea water dropping off the edge of the Disc, the Silver Horde with Cohen leading the charge....Simply eye candy par excellence!
Also, check out the 'Mona Lisa' in page 30. Better than the original HAHAHAHA!!
Finally, this is also the first Discworld novel that share the same cover in both UK and US. Usually, the US covers are just dead boring. How come they cant use the Josh Kirby covers for the American editions?? Too much red tape??
Featuring not only Cohen the Barbarian and Rincewind, but also Carrot, the wizards of Unseen University and Leonard of Quirm, he somehow manages to combine the legend of Prometheus with the Apollo Program while tossing in evil overlords, Schrodinger's Cat and everything you ever wanted to know about dragons.
The story is vintage Pratchett and the illustrations are all gorgeous. While sometimes threatening to overwhelm the text, they work to immerse us in the Discworld in a way that, surprisingly enough, surpasses Pratchett's usual work. From beautifully rendered characters and Discscapes to the notes of Leonard and technical schematics, they give you the feeling of a Discworld almost real enough to touch.
If you're a Terry Pratchett fan, I can't recommend this book enough. Even with the somewhat steep price tag, it's well worth adding to a Pratchett collection. If you're not overly familiar with Pratchett, I recommend starting at a different book in the series, perhaps "Guards! Guards!" or "Small Gods" and then moving on to this one after getting a feel for the series. However, once you've gotten a feel for the series, definitely come back to this one.
The work in question is a Discworld novella, totaling 160 pages of large print with a lot of illustrations. Even in this short space, Pratchett manages to put together his usual twisted, acerbically written plot. Genghiz Cohen the (nonagenarian) Barbarian and his equally Silver Horde have set out for their last quest - to return fire to the gods. After countless efforts at dying heroically they have decided to force the issue, and intend to use the Discworld equivalent of a hydrogen bomb to do it. They are aided in this hero-brained scheme by Evil Harry Dread the Dark Lord, the now gray-haired Vena the Raven-Haired (AKA Mrs. McGarry), and bring along a desperately unwilling minstrel to take notes.
Earnestly trying to prevent Cohen's immolation of Cori Celesti, the Mountain of the Gods, is an equally motley crew. The wizards of the Unseen College have appealed to Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, for support in preventing an act which will destroy all magic and shut down Discworld permanently. Vetinari enlists Leonard of Quirm (best known for dangerous inventions and pictures whose eyes follow you around) to figure out how to get to Cori Celesti in time to stop the Heroes. Leonard invents the first spacecraft, powered by swamp dragons, and crewed by Leonard, Captain Carrot of the Watchmen, and Ridcully the Inept, one of Pratchett's oldest characters. Oh, stowaway duties are done by the Librarian, an orangutan wizard.
Pratchett is at his tongue in cheek best. I counted about 10 dire quips on each page, so expect to do a lot of smirking and giggling. Pratchett has no qualms about parodying himself, and he does so with relish. The plot, which is great fun, often gives away to the sheer exuberance of being able to say sarcastic and witty things at will. And fans will spend hours picking out various Pratchett characters and figuring out in which book they first appeared. Of course, DEATH makes his obligatory appearance.
And did I mention the illustrations? Paul Kidby is the perfect illustrator for Pratchett. He has a good sense of both the dramatic and the humorous and a detailed colorful style that harkens back to the illustrations on the old witch books. I never once felt that he had gotten a figure wrong. This is absolutely the perfect present for a Pratchett fan. It has a bit of a sticker shock to it. But for us addicts, it's worth it. The rest of you should run off to a bookstore where you can snort and smirk for free, and peek at it first. Then come back and buy it here at a discount.
For those who wonder just what that means, the first thief is currently chained to a mountainside with an eagle tearing at his liver, and Cohen has a large barrel of Agatean Fire Clay...
And, if he succeeds, it's the End Of The World.
And so the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork turns to the wizards of Unseen University and to Leonard of Quirm to figure out how to stop Cohen.
As usual, Leonard has An Idea.
And so Leonard, Captain Carrot of the Watch and Rincewind, the reluctant wizard set out in the Discworld's first spacecraft to orbit the Disc and get there in time to stop Cohen and company.
Unlike the usual Discworld adventure, this is a large-format book with illustrations by Paul Kidby, and the illustrations (while not essential to the story) are hilarious and complement Pratchett's inspired satirical insanity brilliantly.
As usual, though, one can count on Pratchett to hold up a twisted mirror to our own world and to make a few Telling Points here and there.
And -- mirabile dictu! -- Archchancellor Ridcully seems to be beginning to understand some of the implications of quantum theory as it applies to magic and the (more or less) Real World.
Not to mention a kidnapped minstrel to write the saga after it's all over. It is required by The Rules that Heroic Deeds be recounted in sagas.
Usually kept locked up in a tower -- he's a Really Nice Fellow and brilliant painter who can't help inventing things that people with the Wrong Sort Of Minds (most people, actually) see all sorts of potentials for bigger and better mayhem in.
 Recently appointed Chair of Cruel and Unusual Geography at UU, on account of having seen so much of it in a lifetime devoted to hair-raising escapes, Adventures and general Running Away.
An Adventure, properly defined, is someone far away having a truly terrible day.
Not to be confused with the late Josh *Kirby*, who painted the definitive Discworld covers, which we don't get to see in the States.
This fact (and the Generally Awful covers the books *have* had in the States) may be part of the explanation of why the Discworld books don't sell better Over Here...
Probably the best of all of the illustrations is the one printed Very Faintly across a two page spread that is almost invisible -- Kate missed it entirely until i showed t to her -- of Cohen and Blind Offler in the poses of Adam and Jehovah from the Sistine Chapel. Cohen, however, is not limply holding out his hand for the Divine Spark.
And Ponder Stebbins has been promoted from the High Energy Magic department of UU to Head of Inadvisably Applied Magic.
In many ways this is the most epic of all Discworld adventures. The travels of Cohen the Barbarian (and cohorts) and Rincewind the coward (and companions) take us to Dunmanifestin (home of the gods), over the edge of the Rimfall (where we discover there are actually people living on the SIDE of the Discworld -- I sense a future tale being set up) into the void, over the shell of the mighty spacefaring turtle A'Tuin and through the legs of the giant world-carrying elephants, and to the surface of the moon itself. And happily, the Librarian is along for the ride (though, sadly, the Luggage makes only a cameo appearance).
And the illustrations of Paul Kidby give the tale an extra dimension of wonder; each gorgeous, hilarious, perfectly-rendered painting builds upon the words and makes the story deeper and richer. The artwork is not simply slapped in between chapters, but rather is integral to the advancement of the story. The sketches from Leonard's notebook are vital to the story, and the renderings of Death cradling a kitten, and of Ponder Stibbons wearing his "Actually I AM a Rocket Wizard" T-shirt are priceless in their own ways. Kidby's art is a great asset, and I am already hungry for another collaboration between him and Pratchett.
My only complaint is that the story itself feels a bit choppy. The situations and the character moments are among Pratchett's best -- especially Rincewind's resignation to his participation in the dangerous adventure, and his regrettable familiarity with space travel, Cohen and his Silver Horde, and many other hazardous elements he has spent his cowardly life trying, but miserably failing, to AVOID -- but the actual flow of the story feels, at times, forced and awkward, as if Pratchett were trying to work around the artwork and not quite succeeding. It's not a bad story by any stretch of the imagination, but it's less cohesive than some of his other works and could have used another go-through by an editor. But still, a slightly less than his best effort from Pratchett is miles ahead of the best works from most anyone else.
In short, The Last Hero is an absolutely essential addition to the library of any Discworld fan, as well as the library of any fan of humor, fantasy, adventure, just plain good writing, or wonderful art.