Another year - another Pratchett book. I am usually the first in the queue to read his latest offering, I was a little reticent about purchasing this tome; it's quite short (160 pages), it's illustrated and his last offering, "The Thief Of Time", hadn't left me with much confidence in my favourite author.
It's good to be wrong.
Pratchett is back with a story which will have you laughing out loud within the first turn of the page. Cohen The Barbarian (first introduced in "The Colour of Magic") is on a quest to return fire to the gods and has thus set the Discworld on course for annihilation.
Paul Kidby illustrates from the heart, some of the pictures are terribly moving (in an emotional way, not a la Harry Potter) although one or two do look a little rushed. He captures the majesty of the Turtle, the playfulness of the Dragons and the ferocity of the Silver Horde so well that it is easy to overlook the fact that some of the characters aren't exactly how you pictured them.
There is no doubt that the book could be longer, 160 pages interspersed with illustration does not for a long read make. But after the comparative dullness of his last two books, this compact tale triumphs and will no doubt be a much loved present.
A word of warning - "The Last Hero" is (over) priced as £17.99. WHSmith have it in their "2 for £20" promotion at the moment, combining this with their "10% off for students" deal, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bargain.
Read it, marvel at it, read it again, refuse to lend it to your friends.