The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
by Terry Pratchett
A book review by Mark L. Olson
Doubleday, 2001, 270 pp, £12.99
Terry Pratchett vs. The Pied Piper! (Pratchett wins!)
Maurice is a cat and, like his educated rodents, gained a mind and speech by eating things tossed on Unseen University's rubbish heap. Maurice has a cat's personality, however, and makes his living as a con man. He's picked up a kid with a flute and goes from town to town with a large gang of talking rats infesting the town and then sending in the kid as a piper to end the infestation -- for pay. Large amounts of pay.
The rats are not particularly happy with this -- unlike Maurice they also seem to have acquired consciences, too -- and want to quit the Pied Piper con, but Maurice talks them into one more run before they quit.
They've wandered into a different part of Uberwald than the werewolf-and-vampire infested part we saw in Carpe Jugulum. This section is more like medieval Germany and Poland, and the town of Bäd Blintz is the next stop.
But when they get there, the town is...odd... there's famine in the town in spite of good harvests and there are no rats anywhere, though the town's rat catchers swear that the rats are eating all the food.
I have the impression that The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is being marketed as a YA book, but it stands with Pratchett's best, I think. The rats confront moral dilemmas and are built into pretty decent characters and the story doesn't really take the course it might have looked like it was going to take early on.
See also my other Pratchett reviews: The Truth, Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature, Carpe Jugulum, The Science of Discworld, The Fifth Elephant, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, The Last Hero, Jingo, Night Watch, The Wee Free Men
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