Eric is Terry Pratchett’s 9th Discworld book, and it’s a pretty short one. It also features the return of the popular character Rincewind. I like Rincewind, but does he make this book good?
As with Pratchett’s other Discworld novels, this is a parody of several themes, including Faust (the title of this book is alternately
Faust Eric), Dante’s Inferno, and Homer’s Iliad. It involves Rincewind (and his Luggage) getting pulled out of the Dungeon Dimensions by a young demonologist, Eric. Eric, thinking Rincewind is a demon, commands him to do three things for him. It’s through these commands that we’re treated to the humourous journey that Eric and Rincewind take through various places and times. That’s all I can really say without spoiling the story.
The main characters are, of course, Rincewind and Eric. Rincewind is his usual inept self, unable to conjure up a spell, and just plain making a mess of things. Eric is a teenager who thinks of himself as a demonologist, although he isn’t very good, either. He is also quite naive, doesn’t listen well, and doesn’t seem to learn well, either. Death makes an appearance at the beginning, but that’s all. Then there’s the demon king Astfgl who seems to love paperwork and bureaucracy. Doesn’t seem very much like Hell, does it? There’s a lot of other more minor characters that show up, as well. I like Rincewind, of course. He’s probably my favourite character of Discworld at the moment. Eric, I didn’t really care about. If he lived or died, it didn’t matter to me.
Usually, a Discworld book is a winner with me. However, this is probably the first time I have to say that is not so. While it was mildly humourous, it featured Rincewind, and the situations were ridiculous, the story felt quite muddled and unfocused. It jumped around a lot, and I just couldn’t get into it like Pratchett’s other books. Sure, I liked it. I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t that funny.
I’d still recommend it to fans of Pratchett. But I wouldn’t use it to introduce Discworld to anyone. It is a very quick read, though. It won’t take much time at all. Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.