The Shepard’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
Published by Harper in 2015
*Note: This book was in draft form when Sir Terry Pratchett passed. The afterword mentions that this book was completed, but still in draft form. . Some critics said that it missed some of the layers that his other books had, but I enjoyed it.
Esme Weatherwax has always been the undisputed head witch. Throughout the earlier Tiffany Aching books, she has helped guide our young hero in the right direction. Unfortunately, Granny Weatherwax’s time is up. Death comes for her and Tiffany is willed her cottage. Tiffany still feels the committment to her hills, so she is running her rear off bouncing between the Chalk and Granny’s cottage.
In the realm of fairy, the fairy court feels the power vacuum created by the death of the head witch. The Fairy Queen is content to enjoy her realm. Some members of her court, Lord Peasebottom in particular, think she’s being weak and want to invade the land of the humans while the head witch is gone. This group succeeds in their takeover of the fairy court. The Fairy Queen is thrown out of her realm and left on the doorstep of the Feegles. ( a group of little blue men who are bound to help Tiffany since she served as her Kelda for a few days earlier in the series). The Feegles hate fairies, but before they kill her, they take her to Tiffany. Tiffany tells the Feegles that they cannot kill this fairy, but they can guard her closely and learn about what is to come. Tiffany tells the fairy that she needs something to call her. The fairy states that her name is Nightshade.
Across the Chalk, a young man named Geoffrey is realizing that he needs to leave home. He ends up in the employ of Tiffany.
Meanwhile, Tiffany is driving herself mad balancing two steadings. Everyone is trying to be patient, but they are getting frustrated.
Nightshade continues to stay with Tiffany, learning about the human ways. The witches sense that the fairy horde is coming to attack the human world. The witches team up to organize to figure out how to defeat this terror.
After teaming up and planning, the witches divide up. Half go to the Chalk, half go to Lancre to prepare to take on the elves. The witches battle the fair folk. After a hard fought battle, the fairies leave the land of the humans. Tiffany wills the Lancre cottage to Geoffery and builds her own cottage on the Chalk.
I really enjoyed the fact that Tiffany has to learn about delegating and balancing her work. Some kids with Tiffany’s personality tend to play the matryr and there is no reason for them to.
Memorable quotes: “I don’t know much about the world, not much; but in my part of the world I could make little miracles for ordinary people…and I never wanted the world-just a part of it, a small part that I could keep safe, that I could keep away from storms. Not the ones of the sky, you understand: there are other kinds.”
“It seems to me, girls, that it goes like this. We fight the elves at every turn, and they is always comin’ back. Perhaps it might be a good thing? To keep us on our toes, to stop us from gettin’ lazy. To put us on the anvil, so that we remembers how to fight. And at the end of time, living is about fightin’ against everything.”