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Thief of Time (Discworld #26)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  44,094 Ratings  ·  983 Reviews
Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed.
And on Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it's wasted (like underwater -- how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there's never enough time.
But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well,
Mass Market Paperback, 378 pages
Published 2008 by Harper (first published 2001)
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Nancy there is a subtle kind of electricity between the two of them, its not written out in words so much, but you can almost feel it! i felt it while…morethere is a subtle kind of electricity between the two of them, its not written out in words so much, but you can almost feel it! i felt it while reading, especially when they are going thru the clock together.(less)
Night Watch by Terry PratchettGoing Postal by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry PratchettSmall Gods by Terry PratchettMort by Terry Pratchett
The Best of Discworld!
14th out of 49 books — 794 voters
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells11/22/63 by Stephen KingA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Time Travel Fiction
59th out of 1,249 books — 3,996 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 21, 2014 Melki rated it liked it
Well, I did not love Lu-Tze, or the History Monks, or the Glass Clock plot...BUT, this being a Pratchett book, it was easy to find plenty of other things to go gaga over.

- This exchange between Susan and her grandfather:

"They're going to do something to time? I thought they weren't allowed to do things like that."


"No one would be that stu---"

Susan stopped. Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possi
I could repeat what all the other reviews have said about this book, but I'm not.

You should read it for a total of five reasons.

1. Susan (one of the best characters ever)
2. Pratchett's character of Death rules.
3. The wonderful use of chocolate in the novel.
4. Mrs. War
5. One of the best descriptions of a school room ever.
Aug 31, 2008 Novac rated it really liked it
This was my first exposure to the work of Terry Pratchett. As a long-time Douglas Adams fan, I had heard Pratchett's name many times, but never took the time to actually read one of his books. I grabbed this one because the plot sounded interesting, and when I read the jacket at home, I noticed it was part of the "Discworld" series. Curious about how to properly start the series, a lump formed in my throat as I discovered that there are thirty-two Discworld novels, and that's not counting four y ...more
Katherine Furman
Dec 13, 2007 Katherine Furman rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasyscifi
A small disclaimer for this review: I read this book mostly while I had a fever, so I can't be held accountable for accuracy.

This is the second Pratchett book I've read and though I enjoy him, it's hard for me to shake the thought that I'm reading Douglas Adams light, set in a Dungeons and Dragons fantasy land instead of sci-fi outer space. That's not altogether a bad thing though b/c I Adams is one of my very favorite authors and he did not leave this world with too many books.

Thief of Time, a

I don't know why I didn't review this one before. Death is featured, but once again, more play is given to granddaughter Susan, who, in the ongoing move to Discworld modernity, is now an elementary school teacher. There is an impending apocalypse caused by the Auditors again. We also get a few new characters: one a very talented clockmaker, another a novice under Lo Tze the time monk. Marvelous fun along the way as Pratchett explores what time means to humans. Such fun. There's
Sep 03, 2016 Carbaes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016, favourites
La historia de amor más bonita jamás contada. Literalmente.

Reseña en Fábulas estelares.
Jul 26, 2015 Claudiu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been perhaps a whole year since I've last read Terry Pratchett. After 20-something books, you need to take a short rest from a certain universe, if you want to get anything done with your reading schedule.
It's easy to fall into the Discworld series and never surface again, especially as at this later part of the series there seems to exist a creative high that permeates every page and every line.

I've come to a point in reading this series in which it's hard to call favorites. I can call out
Aug 07, 2013 Cory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent book. It's up there in my top 5 Discworld books. Lu-Tze is my second favorite character, after Sam Vimes. I first encountered him in "Night Watch", and I wasn't so sure he wasn't just a stereotypical characterization of a crazyish monk.. I should've known better, having read several of Pratchett's books by then. It's a very interesting plot that makes you laugh, smirk, and think along the way. As usual, the pacing of the story is excellent. There's no real lag, and though there are sev ...more
Sara J.
Nov 08, 2015 Sara J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of discworld, chocolates & the five, eh, four horsemen of the apocalypse
Recommended to Sara by: "random" library pick
Shelves: fantasy
What I thoroughly enjoyed:
1. Death
2. Susan
3. Scenes with the other Horsemen of Apoc
4. Chocolates
5. The last third or quarter of the book

My favourite bits are Susan as kindergarten teacher, any exchange among any of the Horsemen (hilarious) and the bits with chocolate. HAHA.

The above more than made up for the meandering first half-ish part of the book. And I couldn't (in the beginning) care less about the monks or Lu Tze until at least half way past the book (did a fair bit of dragging my eyes ac
Abandoning at p. 173
Idk I'm just bored and life's too short.
Dane Cobain
Apr 19, 2016 Dane Cobain rated it really liked it
Thief of Time is an interesting one, because I’m well aware of the fact that I ought to like it – however, I just can’t honestly say that I did. Sure, it was well written and well edited, but the story itself just failed to resonate with me. It felt a little too much like a filler novel, something that Pratchett wrote for the sake of it, rather than because it adds serious value to the rest of the Discworld series as a whole.

Loosely speaking, the story line follows the Monks of History, who stor
What to say, except that Mr. Pratchett took on an original subject for a story: time and building the ultimate clock, one that couldn't be more precise. But the downside is that once it's activated, it stops time. This has to be avoided at all costs, even if it means playing with different times / events / eras / ...

As is custom, there must also be humour, although on a whole I found a little less dominant compared to previous Discworld novels I've read, not in the least Reaper Man, for example,
Jan 27, 2015 K. rated it really liked it
Not my usual fare, but after reading "The Wee Free Men" I willingly delved. "Wee Free Men" is more YA situated, whilst most of the rest of the Discworld series is directed at adults (or so I've read). Why? Perhaps just because the two "adult" Pratchetts I've read have been somewhat dizzying and many of the young set might not give it proper attention? Dunno. Anyway, there was nothing, NOTHING in this book unsuitable for a child to read in terms of violence, sex, language etc. Yes, a few swear wo ...more
Rebecca Huston
Feb 20, 2014 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, series, discworld
Usually, if a series has more than a dozen books in it, I don't keep up with it. Most of the time it is too unwieldy and just plain boring. The author either starts to repeat themselves with characters and situations or goes off into outlandish events that just are not believable. Not so with Terry Pratchett -- his inventiveness and biting humour keeps me coming back for more. This one, Pratchett looks at the nature and elements of time, and wraps it all up in a pretty shiny bow for his readers. ...more
Oct 05, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
I have been reading Pratchett's books in order and have now completed #26... I have to say that reading what has taken him a lifetime to write is actually a very interesting experiment in watching a writer grow at his craft. Early Discworld books are one joke after another, with the plot simply stringing together the insanity of the humor... but as time has passed, his style had become far more plot driven and far less interested in the humor. True this book is still amusing, but one would read ...more
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
3.5 stars.

This book is fun, but it's also kind of disjointed. There's an awful lot of stuff going on, and it takes a long time for all the plots to tie together. Still, it features Susan, and Susan being a teacher, and Susan is one of my favourite things about the Discworld.

The History Monks work better for me in theory than in execution - there's only so many times you can read reincarnation jokes where the Abbot yells "WANNA BIKKIT" in between spouting deep philosophical thoughts before it g
Jul 03, 2013 Lightreads rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Discworld. A one-off about a timepocalypse. This didn't do much for me. It sets up a lot of higher order dualities – order vs. chaos, that sort of thing – and then just sort of leaves them flapping in the breeze. I kept reaching out for more and pulling my hand back clutching a pile of ethnic stereotypes and a few puns. The puns were punny, at least? I want to say something high school book report here about the way this book breaks the usual thematic association between time and death, but even ...more
Scott Kleinpeter
Mar 24, 2015 Scott Kleinpeter rated it really liked it
Pratchett is a delight. There's no other way to talk about a man who treated fantasy with the rigor of a medium-hard sf author, maintained a strong philosophical bent in his plots and mechanics, and yet managed to be consistently funny and fun throughout the proceedings. It's to the detriment of literature that every genre doesn't have it's own Pratchett, or to my own detriment that I don't know about them. And seeing Pratchett play with Time the way a child plays with Legos is just a hoot, let ...more
May 05, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh what a book. I loved every bit. It is a a very confusing book though, with all that time going around in the order it wants and not in the order it should... or at the pace it should. But hey, that's part of the fun, and part of the irony as well.
I just absolutely loved that it was a story about Time, in the very literal sense of the word. Yes, it's also a little about Death, but
mostly about Time and the monks. Lu-Tze is the most amazing character ever, always several steps ahead. And Lobsan
May 24, 2015 katenka rated it really liked it
I remember reading the book for the first time in 2007. I didn't like it and simply put it aside. Some time passed and I, being a huge Terry Pratchett fan, was literally running out of Discworld books (note I reread most of them several times). Somehow I started bumping into Thief of Time quotes on the net and somehow I got this feeling that maybe the time had come for me to give the book a second try. And I did. You know, the first thing I understood after a few pages was that you may be wrong. ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Autumn rated it really liked it
As always, Pratchett is fantastic. Want good, smart, "you're as smart as I am so hop in" humor? Read Pratchett. It's like being in on the joke even if you've never heard it before; Pratchett knows you'll get it anyway and appreciate it.

Wonderful, as always, to have Susan in the story. I think we should follow her education methods more often. Death is always entertaining to have around, especially thinking about him drinking tea from a mug labeled, "World's Greatest Granddad" and actually havin
Comment fait Terry pratchett ? A chaque tome, je me demande si il pourra encore explorer de nouveaux aspects de son monde à tiroir, et à chaque tome, il le fait spectaculairement. Dans ce tome, il s'attaque, dans le désordre, aux cavaliers de l'apocalypse, aux vieux moines pleins de sagesse, au temps qui passe, en passant par les musées inutiles. Et chacun de ces sujets mérite qu'on en parle, ce qui est malheureusement très difficile sans déflorer l'intrigue, habilement construite comme d'habitu ...more
Lindsey Duncan
Aug 17, 2010 Lindsey Duncan rated it liked it
Shelves: funny-fantasy
In my experience, there are two types of Pratchett novels: those that start with a tight focus on a single character / plotline and explode outwards, and those that start with several characters / plotlines and converge inwards. To me, the former are far superior, the latter never quite coming together. I never feel like the plot totally makes sense, the characters keep you at arm's length ... and it never quite feels as if they've earned the resolution.

Unfortunately, Thief of Time is one of the
Jose Luis
Brillante a ratos como solo Sir Terry sabe ser. El último libro de la saga de la Muerte (por ahora) deja el protagonismo a su nieta Susan Sto-Helit, que junto con el barredor Lu-Tze acapara las líneas más memorables del libro.

Tres estrellas porque es lo que merece cualquier cosa que escriba Pratchett, que da ese tono tan genial hasta a la lista de la compra. Pero incluso en la escala Pratchettiana, le falta una historia audaz como la tienen muchos otros volúmenes. Cae en algunos clichés habitual
হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
পরযাচেটের বই চারতারার কম দেওয়া মুশকিল। এই বইটার কলাইমযাকস একটু জোলো। কিনতু যথারীতি, নতুন কিছু চমৎকার মজার আইডিয়া আছে। পরযাচেট একটা পরচলিত ধারণাকে মোজার মতো উলটে দারুণ নতুন একটা কিছু বানাতে পারেন। যেমন, ঘড়িকোকিল। এই কোকিল সঙগিনী আকরষণ করার জনযে একটা কাককু কলক বানায়, তারপর তার ভেতর থেকে ঘণটায় ঘণটায় বেরিয়ে এসে ডাকাডাকি করে। আবার যেমন, সাবসটিশন। সুপারসটিশনের সাথে এর পারথকয হচছে, সাবসটিশন হচছে সেসব সতযি জিনিস, যার অসতিতবে কেউ বিশবাস করে না।

সুসান সটো হেলিট চরিতরটা তেমন জমে ওঠেনি।
Oct 15, 2015 Rich rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 3.5. This is the first Pratchett book I can remember properly reading, so a fairly late introduction to his work. A friend lent me Thief of Time, so I picked it up and gave it a whirl.

This was essentially my first foray into Discworld, so I'm sure plenty of plot nuance was lost on me. Lu-Tze was hilarious and someone I greatly enjoyed reading about, but all of the characters were notably vivid and well-drawn. The story rattled along nicely, and Pratchett even manages to make explanations
Sep 21, 2016 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Por si os lo perdisteis, en este programa del podcast Ecos a 10.000km hablo un poco del Mundodisco de Terry Pratchett:
Apr 10, 2015 Redfox5 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
So they are getting slightly better as they go on. But still not enough to push the rating any higher. I was glad DEATH featured in this one, and much time must have passed since Mort. Since he now has a granddaughter. I liked when the Death of Rats appeared to annoy her. The auditors were interesting, there scenes tended to make me smile. I loved this quote:

"The Auditors had tried to understand religion, because so much that made no sense whatsoever was done in it's name. But it could also exc
Sep 08, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing
I've accepted now that there are five-star books, and then there are Terry Pratchett books.
Jul 03, 2016 Kenny rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, comedy
Hmm, I actually really disliked the main story - but there are so many little "good bits" hidden throughout that I ended up liking the book as a whole.

This reminds me a lot of the one-off stories like Pyramids, but is apparently a "death" story. Susan Sto Helit (Death's granddaughter) is in it from time to time, and is a fun character, but feels very wasted in this. Most of the time this book just tries to eke out some humour from the "little old monk" stereotype. There are some very cool ideas
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,
More about Terry Pratchett...

Other Books in the Series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.” 9106 likes
“When in doubt, choose to live.” 319 likes
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