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Somewhere in a place so far up there is no down, a ship is waiting to take the nomes home. And one nome, Masklin, knows that they've got to try and contact this ship. It means going to Florida (wherever that is), then getting to the launch of a communications satellite (whatever that is). A ridiculous plan. Impossible. But Masklin doesn't know this, so he tries to do it anyway. And the first step is to hitch a ride on a new kind of truck, a truck with wings - Concorde. The final title in the nome trilogy.
In the Beginning … . .. was Arnold Bros (est. 1905), the great department store.
It was the home of several thousand nomes – as they called themselves – who’d long ago given up life in the countryside and settled down under the floorboards of mankind.
Not that they had anything to do with humans. Humans were big and slow and stupid. Nomes live fast. To them, ten years is like a century. Since they’d been living in the Store for more than eighty years, they’d long ago forgotten that there were things like Sun and Rain and Wind. All there was was the Store – created by the legendary Arnold Bros (est. 1905) as a Proper Place for nomes to live.
And then, into the Store from an Outside the nomes didn’t believe existed, came Masklin and his little tribe. They knew what Rain and Wind were, all right. That’s why they’d tried to get away from them.
With them they brought the Thing. For years they had thought of the Thing as a sort of talisman or lucky charm. Only in the Store, near electricity, did it wake up and tell a few selected nomes things they hardly understood . .. They learned that they had originally come from the stars, in some sort of Ship, and that somewhere up in the sky that Ship had been waiting for thousands of years to take them
And they learned that the Store was going to be demolished in three weeks. How Masklin tricked, bullied and persuaded the nomes into leaving the Store by stealing one of its huge trucks is recounted in Truckers. They made it to an old quarry, and for a little while things went well enough. But when you’re four inches high in a world full of giant people, things never go very well for very long.
They found that humans were going to reopen the quarry.
At the same time, they also found a scrap of newspaper which had a picture of Richard Arnold, grandson of one of the Brothers who founded Arnold Bros. The company that owned the Store was now a big international concern, and Richard Arnold – said the newspaper – was going to Florida to watch the launch of its first communications satellite.
The Thing admitted to Masklin that, if it could get into space, it could call the Ship. He decided to take a few nomes and go to the airport and find some way of getting to Florida to get the Thing into the sky. Which of course was ridiculous, as well as impossible. But he didn’t know this, so he tried to do it anyway. Thinking that Florida was five miles away and that there were perhaps several hundred human beings in the world, and not knowing where exactly to go or what to do when they got there, but determined to get there and do it anyway, Masklin and his companions set out. The nomes that stayed behind fought the humans in Diggers. They defended their quarry as long as they could and fled on Jekub, the great yellow digging machine.
But this is Masklin’s story …
As always (Pratchett) is head and shoulders above even the best of the rest. He is screamingly funny. He is wise. He has style...Splendid
- Daily Telegraph
As funny as its predecessors
- The Bookseller
The triumphant conclusion of his 'nome' trilogy
- The Independent
Press the play button below to listen to a short audio excerpt.