Carpe Jugulum is the 23rd Discworld book and as you’d expect from the title is concerns vampires (or vampyres as they prefer it – they’re trying to be “modern”). It’s also a Lancre Witches book which is a good thing as I’m a fan of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and Wyrd Sisters is probably my 2nd favourite Discworld book. (Mort, since you ask).
The book begins with the preparations for the christening of King Verence and Queen Magrat’s baby. Unfortunately the King invited a family of vampire nobility and inviting vampires in is one thing we all know you shouldn’t do. Perhaps even worse is that although they sent an invite to Granny Weatherwax it went astray. Not inviting the Kingdom’s most powerful witch may have been as catastrophic as inviting blood-sucking fiends.
Into all this arrives an Omnian priest Mightily Oats who has been summoned to perform the christening. He’s an interesting character defined more by lack of certainty than actual belief. Oh and we have the 4th member of the Lancre coven, Agnes Nitt, who’s in two minds about everything, literally.
Carpe Jugulum is certainly a lot of fun. It has some interesting things to say about Faith. I’m not sure there was anything radically new in it. As I’ve said by this stage, book 23, we’ve touched on most of Pratchett’s favourite subjects before, so there’s a lot of familiar ground. But these are characters I enjoy spending time with. I liked the vampires, I like Agnes and I still like Nanny and Granny – though her black-and-white belief in her own rightness pushed me on that.
As with other recent Discworld reads I found I enjoyed the story more than the humour which felt a little predictable in its patterns and rhythms, though there were still laugh out loud moments such as:
‘Indeed?’ said the Count, turning to his son. ‘Right about what, prey?’
I smiled at the subtlety.
8/10 – a fun romp with enjoyable characters and some thoughtful ideas about faith, right and wrong – and the importance of a nice cup of tea.