Nation
Nation
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Annotation: After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.
Catalog Number: #4145115
Format: Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2008
Pages: 367 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-06-143301-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-143301-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2008020211
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
This book initially explores the flora and fauna of the Caribbean but quickly deteriorates into a confusing jumble about the interdependence of life ("the larger animals, by eating the smaller ones, transform these into themselves: termite becomes frog, which turns into green lizard..."). The watercolors reflect the warmth of the setting but aren't always keyed to the text, and they sometimes anthropomorphize the animals.
Kirkus Reviews
Pratchett's latest masterpiece chronicles a lad's struggle to survive, and far harder struggle to make sense of the universe, after a tsunami wipes out his entire people. Along with the lives of everyone he has ever known, the devastating wave sweeps away Mau's simple, happy soul—literally, he believes. Fortunately, though much of his angry quest to find something to replace his lost faith in the gods is internal and individual, he acquires company on his tropical island, in the form of the shipwrecked, repressed-but-not-for-long daughter of a high British government official and a ragged group of survivors from other islands who straggle in. 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—one of which involves deeply religious cannibals. 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. (Fantasy. 11 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 710 In this first novel for young people set outside of Discworld, Pratchett again shows his humor and humanity. Worlds are destroyed and cultures collide when a tsunami hits islands in a vast ocean much like the Pacific. Mau, a boy on his way back home from his initiation period and ready for the ritual that will make him a man, is the only one of his people, the Nation, to survive. Ermintrude, a girl from somewhere like Britain in a time like the 19th century, is on her way to meet her father, the governor of the Mothering Sunday islands. She is the sole survivor of her ship (or so she thinks), which is wrecked on Mau's island. She reinvents herself as Daphne, and uses her wits and practical sense to help the straggling refugees from nearby islands who start arriving. When raiders land on the island, they are led by a mutineer from the wrecked ship, and Mau must use all of his ingenuity to outsmart him. Then, just as readers are settling in to thinking that all will be well in the new world that Daphne and Mau are helping to build, Pratchett turns the story on its head. 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. Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 710 In this first novel for young people set outside of Discworld, Pratchett again shows his humor and humanity. Worlds are destroyed and cultures collide when a tsunami hits islands in a vast ocean much like the Pacific. Mau, a boy on his way back home from his initiation period and ready for the ritual that will make him a man, is the only one of his people, the Nation, to survive. Ermintrude, a girl from somewhere like Britain in a time like the 19th century, is on her way to meet her father, the governor of the Mothering Sunday islands. She is the sole survivor of her ship (or so she thinks), which is wrecked on Mau's island. She reinvents herself as Daphne, and uses her wits and practical sense to help the straggling refugees from nearby islands who start arriving. When raiders land on the island, they are led by a mutineer from the wrecked ship, and Mau must use all of his ingenuity to outsmart him. Then, just as readers are settling in to thinking that all will be well in the new world that Daphne and Mau are helping to build, Pratchett turns the story on its head. 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. Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

In Carnegie Medalist Pratchett’s (the Discworld novels; A Hat Full of Sky) superb mix of alternate history and fantasy, the king of England, along with the next 137 people in line to the throne, has just succumbed to the plague; the era might be akin to the 1860s or ’70s. As the heir apparent is being fetched from his new post as governor of an island chain in the South Pelagic Ocean, his daughter, the redoubtable Ermintrude, still en route to join him in the South Pelagic, has been shipwrecked by a tsunami. She meets Mau, whose entire people have been wiped out by the great wave (he escaped their fate only because he was undergoing an initiation rite on another island). She and Mau each suffer profound crises of faith, and together they re-establish Mau’s nation from other survivors who gradually wash up on shore and rediscover (with guidance from spirits) its remarkable lost heritage. Neatly balancing the somber and the wildly humorous in a riveting tale of discovery, Pratchett shows himself at the height of his powers. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* "Somewhere in the South Pelagic Ocean," a tidal wave wipes out the population of a small island cept for Mau, who was paddling his dugout canoe home after a month spent alone, preparing to become a man. The wave also sweeps a sailing ship carrying Daphne, an English girl, up onto the island and deposits it in the rain forest, where Mau finds her. Over the months that follow, they learn to communicate while welcoming more people to their shores and building a community of survivors. Mau searches for the meaning behind his people's gods, while Daphne applies her nineteenth-century knowledge of science and history to the many puzzles she discovers in this unfamiliar place. Broad in its scope and concrete in its details, this unusual novel strips away the trappings of two very different nations to consider what it is people value and why. Certain scenes are indelible: Mau's nonverbal communication to Daphne that a pregnant woman has landed, and she must help with the birth; or the terrifying yet awesome descent into a cave. Quirky wit and broad vision make this a fascinating survival story on many levels.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Young Mau is stuck between two identities, boy and man, when his rite of passage into adulthood is thwarted by a deadly storm that wipes out the rest of his island nation. As fellow survivors from disparate places and cultures begin to converge on his home, Mau must not only work to negotiate his own identity, he must also lead these strangers through their own recovery. Mau's closest ally is Daphne, a "ghost girl," British royalty whose ship crashed onto the island during the storm. Despite language and cultural differences, Mau and Daphne manage to connect and lead the others by sharing and merging cultural histories, sometime listening to and other times ignoring the loud voices of their ancestors. Although most of what Mau knows has been ruined and much of what Daphne has been taught turned on its head, their leadership forges a new nation, as old truths are questioned and revised. Again Pratchett creates a magical yet familiar world full of fantastic images and difficult decisions. There is a lot going on in the novel-this reviewer could not help feeling as if she were missing something-but there is something to be said for Pratchett's respect for the young reader whom he imagines can keep up with and find pleasure in the difficult worlds he creates. Dark and sometimes funny, this complex tale asks the reader to consider a variety of issues, from identity and tradition to faith and prejudice.-Jennifer Miskec.
Word Count: 103,128
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 16.0 / quiz: 125322 / grade: Middle Grades+
Lexile: NC790L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X
Nation

Chapter One

The Plague

The snow came down so thickly, it formed fragile snowballs in the air that tumbled and melted as soon as they landed on the horses lined up along the dock. It was four in the morning and the place was coming alive and Captain Samson had never seen the dock in such a bustle. The cargo was flying out of the ship, literally; the cranes strained in their efforts to get the bales out as quickly as possible. The ship stank of the disinfectant already, stank of the stuff. Every man who came on board was so drenched in it that it dribbled out of his boots. But that wasn't enough; some of them had squelched aboard with big, heavy spray cans that spat an acid-pink fog over everything.

And there was nothing Captain Samson could do about it. The agent for the owners was right there on the dockside with his orders in his hands. But Captain Samson was going to try.

"Do you really think we're infectious, Mr. Blezzard?" he barked to the man on the dock. "I can assure you—"

"You are not infectious, Captain, as far as we know, but this is for your own good," shouted the agent through his enormous megaphone. "And I must once again warn you and your men not to leave the ship!"

"We have families, Mr. Blezzard!"

"Indeed, and they are already being taken care of. Believe me, Captain, they are fortunate, and so will you be, if you follow orders. You must return to Port Mercia at dawn. I cannot stress enough how important this is."

"Impossible! It's the other side of the world! We've only been back a few hours! We are low on food and water!"

"You will set sail at dawn and rendezvous in the Channel with the Maid of Liverpool, just returned from San Francisco. Company men are aboard her now. They will give you everything you need. They will strip that ship to the waterline to see that you are properly provisioned and crewed!"

The captain shook his head. "This is not good enough, Mr. Blezzard. What you are asking—it's too much. I— Good God, man, I need more authority than some words shouted through a tin tube!"

"I think you will find me all the authority you need, Captain. Do I have your permission to come aboard?"

The captain knew that voice.

It was the voice of God, or the next best thing. But although he recognized the voice, he hardly recognized the speaker standing at the foot of the gangplank. That was because he was wearing a sort of birdcage. At least, that's what it looked like at first sight. Closer to, he could see that it was a fine metal framework with a thin gauze around it. The person inside walked in a shimmering cloud of disinfectant.

"Sir Geoffrey?" said the captain, just to be sure, as the man began to walk slowly up the glistening gangplank.

"Indeed, Captain. I'm sorry about this outfit. It's called a salvation suit, for obvious reasons. It is necessary for your protection. The Russian influenza has been worse than you can possibly imagine! We believe the worst is over, but it has taken a terrible toll at every level of society. Every level, Captain. Believe me."

There was something in the way the chairman said every that made the captain hesitate.

"I take it that His Majesty is . . . isn't—" He stopped, unable to force the rest of the question out of his mouth.

"Not only His Majesty, Captain. I said 'worse than you can possibly imagine,'" said Sir Geoffrey, while red disinfectant dripped off the bottom of the salvation suit and puddled on the deck like blood. "Listen to me. The only reason the country is not in total chaos at this moment is that most people are too scared to venture out. As chairman of the line, I order you—and as an old friend, I beg you—for the sake of the Empire, sail with the devil's speed to Port Mercia and find the governor. Then you will— Ah, here come your passengers. This way, gentlemen."

Two more carriages had pulled up in the chaos of the dockside. Five shrouded figures came up the gangplank, carrying large boxes between them, and lowered them onto the deck.

"Who are you, sir?" the captain demanded of the nearest stranger, who said:

"You don't need to know that, Captain."

"Oh, don't I, indeed!" Captain Samson turned to Sir Geoffrey with his hands open in appeal. "Goddammit, Chairman, pardon my French, have I not served the line faithfully for more than thirty-five years? I am the captain of the Cutty Wren, sir! A captain must know his ship and all that is on it! I will not be kept in the dark, sir! If I cannot be trusted, I will walk down the gangplank right now!"

"Please don't upset yourself, Captain," said Sir Geoffrey. He turned to the leader of the newcomers. "Mr. Black? The captain's loyalty is beyond question."

"Yes, I was hasty. My apologies, Captain," said Mr. Black, "but we need to requisition your ship for reasons of the utmost urgency, hence the regrettable lack of formality."

"Are you from the government?" the captain snapped.

Mr. Black looked surprised. "The government? I am afraid not. Just between us, there is little of the government left at the moment, and what there is is mostly hiding in its cellars. No, to be honest with you, the government has always found it convenient not to know much about us, and I would advise you to do the same."

"Oh, really? I was not born yesterday, you know—"

"No indeed, Captain, you were born forty-five years ago, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Bertie Samson, and christened Lionel after your grandfather," said Mr. Black, calmly lowering his package to the deck.

Nation. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Nation by Terry Pratchett
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

The sea has taken everything.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.


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