I Shall Wear Midnight

Terry Pratchett
I Shall Wear Midnight Cover

I Shall Wear Midnight


I Shall Wear Midnight. I could not think of a more apt title for this the fourth Tiffany Aching novel by Terry Pratchett. Was it just the mood I was in, this being the first novel I have read since the passing of the author? I think not. It starts with Tiffany intervening on behalf of a young girl who was beaten by her father so badly after a village fair that she lost the baby she was carrying. The was no skeletal face of Death to soften this death just a dead baby in a barn, and this sets the tone for the entire novel.

At 16 years, Tiffany is now a witch in her own right. She is no longer training with other witches but has claimed her steading on the "Chalk" and is going about the day to day life of a witch. She seems to be doing well until a rash of anger strikes her community. People on the Chalk are scared and even more disturbing for Tiffany are hostile to her. Of course there is a supernatural cause to the entire thing, which Tiffany has to confront and defeat.

This novel felt like an ending for me. Written in 2010, three years after Sir Terry was diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a form of early onset Alzheimer disease, one has to wonder how much death and endings were on his mind when he was writing this novel. One can't help but wonder if this lent to the darker tone.
I could see how this could be the end of the series. Tiffany is forced to confront her new role in the community and how becoming "The Witch" has changed her life and relationships.

In spite of the overall dark tone of the novel, there are still the delightful dry wit that made me fall in love with Discworld. The Nac Mac Feegles are again the comic relief, but even this has a dark tinge. Because the author tends to write these characters as jolly buffoons who would prefer to drink and fight their way through life, I tend to forget that these are powerful fairy creatures, but I was reminded of this in spades when the Feegles home is threatened.

If this had been the last Tiffany Aching novel, I would have been sad but accepting, but shortly after his death it was announced that THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN the final Discworld novel will be released on September 15, 2015. This final novel will also be the fifth and final Tiffany Aching novel. A great man will give us one last look at a great witch before both go quietly into the night.

I will miss them both.