The twenty-seventh novel in the Discworld Series
UK hbk: Gollancz, 175,000 copies on 18 October 2001 (0-575-06885-X); De luxe edition: c. 2,000 copies on 18 October 2001 (0-575-07370-5)
Bookproof: 16pp. full-colour sample. Quantity unknown
USA hbk: HarperCollins, November 2001 (0-06-104096-7)
Bookproof: a) text only, viii, 132 pp. pbk, red covers, with ‘A Note to Readers of this Text-Only Version’ by the author on p. i. c. 425 copies; b) 16pp. full colour sample, as Gollancz
Bookclub: SF Book Club, 10,000 copies October 2001
Pbk: HarperVoyager, 20 August 2002 (0-06-050777-2)
German: Wahre Helden, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Goldmann, 1 October 2001 (3-442-54531-5)
2nd edition – with 8 new double page illustrations, and ‘scream’ cover
UK pbk: Gollancz, 15 August 2002 (0-575-07377-2)
Mass market small pbk: Gollancz 13 September 2007 (978-0-575-08196-3)
USA pbk: Eos [HarperCollins], November 2002 (0-06-050777-2)
Bulgarian (Cohen cover): Последният герой, trs. Vladimir Zarkov, Vuzev/Arhont-V, pbk, ?October 2003 (954-422-078-X)
Czech (Cohen cover): Poslední Hrdina, trs. Jan Kantůrek, Talpress, hbk, October 2003 (80-7197-228-2)
French (Cohen cover): Le Dernier Héros, trs. Patrick Couton, L’Atalante, pbk, , October 2003 (2-84172-251-1)
German: Wahre Helden, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Manhattan, 14 April 2011 (with the same ISBN 3-442-54531-5 and the original cover of the Discworld and the Great A’Tuin, but a circular label on the cover, stating ‘Mit vielen neuen Illustrationen’). On the 6th printing this label is omitted
Polish (Rincewind scream cover): Ostatni Bohater, trs. Piotr W. Cholewa, Prószyński i S-ka, hbk, scream cover, ?October 2003 (83-7337-445-0)
Russian (Cohen cover): Последний Герй, trs. Nikolai Berdennekov & Aleksandr Zhikarentsev, Eksmo, December 2006 (5-699-17413-3)
Spanish: El Último Héroe, trs. Javier Calvo Perales, Plaza y Janes, November 2009 (978-84-01-33735-2)
When Cohen the Barbarian and a select group of heroes set out on one final quest that will, incidentally, bring about the end of the world, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork enlists a brilliant inventor, a luckless tourist-turned-wizard, and an intrepid city watchman to foil the heroes’ quest. Lavishly illustrated by Discworld regular Kidby, Pratchett’s latest bring together some of the series’ most beloved and unforgettable characters in a tribute to one of comic fantasy’s most celebrated worlds. Though slim in pages, this oversized illustrated novel showcases Pratchett’s comic genius and belongs in libraries where the series has a following. Essential for fans. Library Journal (USA)
This is a book every Terry Pratchett fan must have in his or her library. It is a great big beautiful volume packed with Paul Kidby’s marvelous visualizations of most of the major Discworld figures: Capt. Carrot, Rincewind, The Librarian, The Patrician, Death, Leonard of Quirm, A’Tuin, Cohen The Barbarian and His Silver Horde, Stibbons, and many others.
All this plus a chart of the 38 varieties of dragons, a full sitting of the Gods of Dunmanifestin, an aerial shot of Ankh Morpork and even a view of the Discworld as seen from its moon. There are some sidesplitting parodies of Da Vinci drawings, Quirm’s spacesuit designs, and a wild Mission Patch.
The plot is Pratchett at his best – a mad expedition to head off Cohen and the Silver Horde from blowing up the Gods and destroying the Discworld. I won’t spoil it for you except to say it is as good as or better than anything else that Terry has written so far.
Give it to yourself for Christmas. Joe Schaumburger, in Wossname
Old hand Terry Pratchett is up to some new tricks with the almost simultaneous publication of two shortish novels set in Discworld – The Last Hero, a lavishly illustrated text being marketed for adults, and The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, a talking animal tale labelled as YA [Young Adults]. Hero involves a host of familiar characters (Captain Carrot, Cohen the Barbarian and a bunch of literally old cronies, plus various gods, and more) in an antic, footnote-riddled account of a dastardly plot which Could Destroy Discworld As We Know It. Maurice centres around a ‘pied piper’ scam where the rats and the cat Maurice developed intelligence after a spill in a wizardly rubbish heap, and they adopt a kid with a talent for music.
Such capsule descriptions might prompt cynics to wonder if Pratchett is selling out, recycling old material for a grown-ups’ picture book while catering to the younger set with crazy critter comedy – except that the books refuse to conform to formulae. The Last Hero lambastes fantasy clichés while exploring the paradoxical realms of both metaphysics and physics (Discworld style), as slow wit holds its own amidst the slapstick and the Uncertainty Principle gets a new spin. ….
Pratchett’s takes on human creativity and layered systems of myths evoke some grandeur between the guffaws, as he works toward what may be the most difficult question of all: what it means to be a genuine hero, rather than just a bully with a big sword.
The Last Hero shouldn’t be mistaken for a sententious fable with a Moral at its heart. It’s much too funny for that. And Paul Kidby’s delightful colour illustrations add to the fun with their takes on everything from the Bayeux Tapestry to the wonders of the cosmos – Turtle, elephants and all. Farren Miller in Locus
Background illustration © and by courtesy of Paul Kidby