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    SMALL GODS by Terry Pratchett


    Harper Mass Paperbacks, 1992 (Reprinted February 2003)

    When Temple Novice Brutha hears a small turtle talking to him, he is certain it is a demon--until the turtle persuades Brutha that he (the turtle) is, in fact, the Great God Om. Brutha's entire civilization is built around the worship of Om, but worship and belief are two very different things. In Discworld, a god's power comes from the prayers of his believers and Om, it turns out, has exactly one believer--Brutha. Brutha is not especially bright, but he has a perfect memory and he is tasked to come on a journey with the Exquisitioner of Om--a man who has made a career of routing evil out of the theocracy. On the journey, Brutha discovers philosophy, books, and strange ideas about coexistance.

    The idea of a world swarming with small gods, each desparately seeking for believers and each concerned primarily with their own self-interest (it is the amount rather than the content of the prayer tha matters) is funny and author Terry Pratchett (see more reviews of novels by Pratchett) milks it to the max. The once-great and now diminished Om is a charming character, full of himself and of practical advice that Brutha mostly ignores. Pratchett presents SMALL GODS in a fairy-tale style, tying the story together with other Discworld novels through the device of the time monks and the omni-present Death.

    Occasionally, Pratchett gets a little carried away with his message and certainly SMALL GODS doesn't deliver the kind of complex and evolving character that Pratchett develops in his wonderful Night Watch sub-series (see our review of NIGHT WATCH), but the novel is well written and interesting nevertheless.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/01/03

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