When the award winning and knighted fantasy author and satirist Sir Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015, the world lost a literary giant. Even though we knew, intellectually, that his early-onset Alzheimer’s disease was catching up on him, his death was a shock.
Acknowledging that his death had a much greater personal impact on his family than it did his fans, as a fan I was similarly devastated that I would no longer be able to return to the Discworld. Yes, I can always reread one of the 41 Discworld novels already published, but that there would be no more was heartbreaking.
I have even yet to read The Shepherd’s Crown, the fifth and final Tiffany Aching story which was published posthumously in August of 2015.
Unsurprisingly, however, given the global popularity of Sir Terry Pratchett, his Discworld series, and the likely massive amount of unpublished world building, it was only ever a matter of time until someone decided that it was the right time to begin publishing some more Pratchett.
As such, in 2019, The Ankh-Morpork Archives were published – A Discworld Anthology, Volume 1 – authored by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Briggs and with illustrations by the great Paul Kidby. Terry Pratchett we know; Stephen Briggs has been a long-time associate of Pratchett, being involved in the writing and merchandising of Pratchett’s Discworld, including adapting over 20 novels for the amateur stage; while Paul Kidby was one of two artists most well-known for providing the covers for Pratchett’s Discworld novels – having taken up the job after the first artist, Josh Kirby, died in 2001.
Quoting from the back of the book, “The Ankh Morpork Archives: Volume 1 brings together four editions of the infamous Discworld Diaries into one, deluxe, digitally re-mastered compendium.”
The Discworld Diaries were published sporadically from 1997 through to 2016 and were each based upon one of the fictional Ankh-Morpork institutions beloved in Discworld. A wealth of extracurricular information and details were provided, much more than would ever have been able to be sensibly included in the novels. In fact, some information first included in the Diaries eventually made their way into the novels proper.
For those, then, looking for a bit more Pratchett in their lives, enter in The Ankh-Morpork Archives: A Discworld Anthology – Volume 1.
Beautifully delivered in a square hardcover, with over 230 pages of information and sumptuous Paul Kidby illustrations, this book is a must have for all Pratchett fans (who don’t already have the originals – and even then, this might make a nice upgrade or addition). With sections on Unseen University, the Assassins’ Guild, Thieves’ Guild, and Post Office, the book also includes a section for notable Discworld dates, and several pages of extra illustrations.
Including quotes from Pratchett, Briggs, and Kidby throughout, The Ankh-Morpork Archives provides readers with an opportunity to walk the streets of Ankh-Morpork, rifling through flyers and information brochures. Outlining the Complaints Procedure for the Thieves’ Guild and including “A Nosie from the Guild Rabercully”, a series of portraits from the Open Commissions for notoriously expensive targets from the Assassins’ Guild, and a visual guide to the Unseen University Faculty.
Paul Kidby’s artwork is a significant drawcard for this book, and a highlight is the Open Commission artwork on page 112 for Commander Vimes – “AM$600,000, AND RISING” – and the numerous renderings of Lord Vetinari.
Perfect as a gift for that Pratchett fan in your life, or as an addition to your own never-ending Pratchett collection, The Ankh-Morpork Archives: A Discworld Anthology – Volume 1 might be a little unnecessary, it is nevertheless beautiful and a wonderful return to one of the most endearing cities in literature.
Review by Joshua S Hill
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?