Finding himself alone on a desert island when everything and everyone he knows and loved has been washed away in a huge storm, Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He's also completely alone - or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird and gives him a stick which can make fire.
Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She's certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship's parrot.
As it happens, they are not alone for long. Other survivors start to arrive to take refuge on the island they all call the Nation and then raiders accompanied by murderous mutineers from the Sweet Judy. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things - including how to milk a pig and why spitting in beer is a good thing - and start to forge a new Nation.
As can be expected from Terry Pratchett, the master story-teller, this new children's novel is both witty and wise, encompassing themes of death and nationhood, while being extremely funny. Mau's ancestors have something to teach us all. Mau just wishes they would shut up about it and let him get on with saving everyone's lives!
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
Thought-provoking as well as fun, this is Pratchett at his most philosophical, with characters and situations sprung from ideas and games with language. And it celebrates the joy of the moment. - The Times
It's witty and wise, but it leaves its young readers enough room for a newly formed opinion or two as they think about its themes of love, loss, loyalty, courage, religion and nationhood. - www.thebookbag.co.uk
An enchanting novel... Terry Pratchett is one of the most interesting and critically under-rated novelists we have. - The Times
The unique pleasure of this story is that all the serious subjects and juicy ethical questions, such as the dilemma of the compassionate lie, are fully woven into action and character. Satirical portraits of upper-class twits, slapstick buffoonery, bad puns, and that particular brand of English wit buoy this story at every turn. Add a romance of gentle sweetness, encounters with ghosts, and lots of gunfire, and it is hard to imagine a reader who won't feel welcomed into this nation - The Horn Book, USA
This is no heavy-toned tale: Tears and rage there may be in plenty, but also a cast of marvelously wrought characters, humor that flies from mild to screamingly funny to out-and-out gross, incredible discoveries, profound insights into human nature and several subplots. A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant and, happily, prolific author has produced so far. - Kirkus Reviews, USA
Terry Pratchett has found a moving, achingly human island story that tests the boundaries of identity and examines exactly what it means to be 'civilised'. - Kudos Magazine
In this first novel for young people set outside of Discworld, Pratchett again shows his humor and humanity... The main characters are engaging and interesting, and are the perfect medium for the author's sly humor. Daphne is a close literary cousin of Tiffany Aching in her common sense and keen intelligence wedded to courage. A rich and thought-provoking read. - School Library Journal, USA
Hugely entertaining novel from a fantastic storyteller. - Batley News
While you're a part of it you'll love every minute. - Waterstones Books Quarterly
Book of the week - Sutton and Epsom Advertiser
Author pictured at the launch party. - The Bookseller
Pratchett's searing novel for teens combines his unique brand of humour with a classic survival adventure to become a piercing inquiry into the nature of faith. - Kirkus Reviews
Without pretension or crusading auto-didacticism he has spent a quarter of a century creating a fantasy worl that does its bit to make this world a better place. It is a splendid achievement. - The Independent
This is Pratchett operating at the peak of his powers. Nation's often very funny, the characters are adorable, the plot intriguing... Nation is wryly hilarious throughout. - DeathRay
It's a wonderful story, by turns harrowing and triumphant, and Mau and Daphne are tremendously appealing characters. It's a book that can be read with great pleasure by young readers-and not a few of their parents, I suspect-as both a high-spirited yarn and a subtle examination of the risks and virtues of faith. - The New York Times
Gr 7-10-A tsunami has hit Mau's island home and washed away everyone he has known. Daphne is from the other side of the globe and is the sole survivor (or so she thinks) of a shipwreck on the island. The two come together and each of them brings wisdom, intelligence, and sense of humanity to their dire situation. An absorbing novel of survival and discovery liberally infused with Pratchett's trademark wit. - The School Library Journal
This culture clash comedy gives way to growing understanding and there is much to ponder on the merits of faith and tradition. - Wolverhampton Chronicle
... a unique, exhilarating tour de force - School Librarian
... a very funny and well-written story. The characters and plot are both imaginative and thought-provoking. - Teen Titles
A South Seas island adventure with an assured comic edge from Pratchett... This culture clash comedy gives way to growing understanding and there is much to ponder on the merits of faith and tradition. - Wolverhampton Chronicle
I think this is - just possibly -the best book Pratchett has ever written. - Fantasy and Science Fiction
This is a novel for all ages from (say) 11 to (say) 90, and its narrative exuberance will lure its younger readers to 'strange seas of thought'. - School Library Association
Pratchett writing at the height of his powers. - Carousel
A serious work, but one written with humour and a lightness of touch that embraces big questions...it is a book about the faith of our times. - INIS
Terry Pratchett's use of language here is funny and exciting. This book delivers adventure, philosophy and satire. Pratchett has written of a very different world from his Discworld series. This is one of the cleverest novels I have read in years. - Newsademic.com
Nation is a modern tale of enlightenment that can be enjoyed by teenagers and aduls alike. An exceptional read, highly recommended. - Classroom (NATE)
An ebullient and entertaining novel of ideas. - The Guardian
Nation, published in 2008 (this year's award catchment runs from August 2008-September 2009), is an extraordinarily complicated tale about God, tradition and loss. Yet it is told with beautiful simplicity and rollicking readability. - The Independent
Funny and profound, Nation is much more than an adventure story, pitting reason against religion and offering an alternative perspective on world history and culture. - Time Out
As Pratchett says: 'Thinking. This book contains some. Whether you try it at home is up to you.' His wit is on every page; his world surpasses ours, his writing is weird and wonderful. No, weirdly wonderful. It is gripping but put the book down to ponder the thoughts inside to unearth a parallel universe. Terry Pratchett is worth more than his idiom; his teachings contain more philosophical thought than I would have ever thought possible. - Sunday Express
Terry Pratchett is one of the most popular authors writing today. He lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he 'doesn't want to get a life, because it feels as though he's trying to lead three already'. He was appointed OBE in 1998. He is the author of the phenomenally successful Discworld series. His first Discworld novel for children, THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS, was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal, while the second, THE WEE FREE MEN - the first about Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle - has been optioned by Sony Films to be made into a spectacular movie. Two of his Johnny Maxwell tales have been televised by the BBC as TV drama serials.