This poor book has been languishing on my bookshelf for many years, I have the large illustrated hardback version, and so with its unpractical size I have never gotten round to reading it properly. Until now of course. Because now I’m taking part in the Sir Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge which was the eventual push I needed to give this book a go. The Last Hero is the twenty-seventh addition to the Discworld series of novels written by the legendary fantasy author Terry Pratchett, published in 2001 in a larger format than usual with full colour illustrations produced by Paul Kidby. I must say the book is a beauty to behold. I picked it up one chilly evening when my head hurt but I couldn’t possibly sleep, I hoped it would a nice easy read and would cheer me up a bit.
Cohen the Barbarian is bored! Cohen and his Silver Horde of faithful friends years ago conquered the Agatean Empire and made their leader Cohen an emperor; but now in their later lives of leisure and comfort they have nothing to do. You may believe to look at them that they are old and past their prime, in fact they are old however that only means they have had more time and practice at what they do. So Cohen the Barbarian decides to set off on one more adventure with his Silver Horde and a sledge full of the highly explosive Agatean Thunder Clay. With the intention of returning fire to the gods. Meanwhile back in the city of Ankh-Morpork; Lord Vetinari, the wizards of the Unseen University, and the leaders of the various guilds must come up with a plan and quick because if Cohen succeeds in blowing up the gods in the ancient city of Cori Celesti then they will also destroy the magic field, and in turn that will destroy the whole world…
The Last Hero is a short novel (my copy is mainly taken up with large font and large illustrations) which was indeed a nice easy read and it most definitely cheered me up. So much so I picked it up that one chilly evening and didn’t put it down till I’d finished it that same chilly evening. I’ve read a couple of Discworld novels but this was the first time I’d been introduced to the characters of Cohen and the Silver Horde, I found them very funny, especially with all the stereotypes of heroes and villains that Pratchett highlights; that only gets funnier when Evil Harry and his stupid henchman join the story. There were also some familiar faces including the bumbling wizard Rincewind, the orangutan librarian, and the luggage with its many legs. Plus there were also some great references back to Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology.
I highly recommend reading The Last Hero for existing Discworld fans as it is a charming addition to the world you love already, it would however also make a wonderful introduction to the Discworld for new readers as it is short and simple. After finishing all I feel is I must read more Pratchett very very soon!