The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

Terry Pratchett
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents Cover

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents


Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is the 28th book in his stand alone series of novels set in the magical realm of Discworld, it is only the 4th novel I have read but Discworld already feels like a safe and familiar home to me. It is funny that this is the first "Discworld" novel written for a YA audience because I have always felt that there was something incredibly sweet about the "Discworld". That is not to say that there is not evil and maliciousness to be found in Discworld. Any land that has its own "Guild of Assassins" is not all lollipops and butterflies to be sure; there is just something, "nice" for lack of a better word about the entire world.

In this installment we see a reimagining of the "Pied Piper" story as only Terry Pritchett can tell it. The main theme of this novel is that things are not always as they seem. And this theme runs heavily through the entire novel. None of the characters are who they appear to be. Not the animals that talk, not the "Stupid-Looking Boy" Keith, not even the "Rat Problem" that is the cause of all the hardships in the town of "Bad Blintz".

Maurice, who is an alley cat, and the main character of this tale, and his companions "The Clan", a group of Rats able to think and talk, and "The Stupid Looking Boy" Keith are from a town never named, but can only be the Capitol City of Ankh-Morpork, from it's description of the garbage from a magical college that caused the rats to be able to think. They have been traveling around Discworld pulling a "Pied Piper Scam" where The Rats go into a town and cause mischief, "widdling" in the flour and in the jam, jumping out at old ladies, and at least in the case of the rat, Sardine, tap dancing on the countertops. Keith comes into town with his "magical" flutes and pipes the rats from the town and collects his fees and moves on to the next town. Unfortunately for Maurice, who has the heart of a lovable con-artist extraordinaire, the rats of The Clan are starting to develop a pesky sense of morals and a consciousness, and have decided that Bad Blintz is the be their last scam. The Clan has a dream of living on an island where they will not have to hide themselves but can live freely as intelligent beings. Unfortunately, Bad Blintz is in the grips of a real "Rat Infestation" and is starving and near collapse. The mystery insues when the Clan start to inspect the town and find it full of traps and poisons, but no rats to be seen. After running into the Mayors daughter, Malicia, who lives her life in a perpetual fairy tale, Maurice, Keith, and The Clan, solve the mystery of the Rats of Bad Blintz, and in doing so, changes the lives and nature of Maurice, The Clan, and All of Bad Blintz.

Terry Pratchett is able to take that dry humor that the British are famous for, and wind it around amazing storytelling. The names alone in the book are enough to put me in stitches, but my favorite has to be the rat poison Keith and Malicia find in the Rat Catchers house, "Polyputaketlon: Extreme Caution". Now just let that stew in the brain for a minute and I dare you not to laugh. Although the novels are all stand alones, characters from previous novels have a tendency to pop up in Mr. Pratchett's world. It was wonderful to see Bone Rat, and Death make an appearance in this novel (And yes, I understand how ridiculous it is for me to be happy to see Death, but that's just what Terry Pratchett does to his readers). You would think after 40 novels of the Discworld, it would start to get old for the reader, but for me at least, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents holds its own and is another winner for Mr. Pratchett.