Raising Steam

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Raising Steam
The front cover of the book Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett.jpg
Cover by Paul Kidby
Author Terry Pratchett
Language English
Series Discworld
40th novel – 3rd Moist von Lipwig story
Subject

Steam engines

Characters
Moist von Lipwig
Locations
Ankh-Morpork
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
7 November 2013 (18 Mar 2014, U.S.)
Pages 384
ISBN 978-0-85752-227-6

Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld novel, written by Terry Pratchett. It was originally due to be published on 24 October 2013; however, it was pushed back to 7 November 2013 (and March 18, 2014 in the U.S.).[1][2] It features the introduction of locomotives to the Discworld (a concept mentioned already in Death's Domain),[3] and an entirely new character but it also stars Moist von Lipwig.[4]

The cover of the novel was exclusively revealed on Pratchett's Facebook page on 6 August 2013.[5]

An update to Mr Pratchett's website late October of 2013 revealed that characters include Harry King, Moist von Lipwig, Adora Belle Dearheart and Sgt Fred Colon amongst others.[6]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Dick Simnel, a young self-taught engineer from Sto Lat, has invented a steam locomotive named Iron Girder. He brings his invention to Ankh-Morpork where it catches the interest of Sir Harry King, a millionaire businessman who has made his fortune in the waste and sanitation industry. Harry promises Dick sufficient investment to make the railway a success.

The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari, wishing to ensure that the City has appropriate influence over the new enterprise, appoints the reformed fraudster turned civil servant Moist von Lipwig to represent the government in the management of the railway. His skills soon come in useful in negotiations with landowners along the route of the new line.

Throughout the story, Dwarfish fundamentalists are responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, including the murder of railway workers engaged in building the new line, and arson of towers belonging to the clacks telecommunications network. This campaign culminates in a palace coup at the seat of the Low King of the Dwarfs in Schmaltzberg, Überwald, whilst the King is away at an international summit in Quirm, over twelve hundred miles away. Vetinari declares that it is imperative to return the King to Schmaltzberg as soon as possible in order to restore political stability, and gives Moist the task of getting him there via the new railway. Moist protests impossibility on the grounds that the railway is nowhere near complete, but is told that achieving this target is non-negotiable.

Faced with a bridge that is clearly too weak to carry the train, and insufficient time or workers to strengthen it, Moist commandeers the City's ancient golems, which are kept strictly for use only in times of national emergency. This is in spite of his being expressly forbidden to use them by Vetinari (who knows that Moist's wife has the necessary expertise to command the golems). Having tunnelled their way to the site of the bridge, the golems, concealed by mist in the gorge below, somehow contrive to carry the train safely across.

The Dwarf King retakes Schmaltzberg with little resistance, and the leader of the fundamentalists is held for trial. Feeling that the dwarfs are ready for a more progressive future, the King reveals that she is actually a Queen, and changes her name from Rhys to Blodwen, following which a number of other senior dwarfs also "come out" as female.

Back in Ankh-Morpork, Dick Simnel is knighted, Harry King receives a peerage, and the City Watch officers who helped defend the train receive medals, whereas Moist, upon questioning why he appears to be the only one not receiving a reward, is told that his reward is to remain alive. It is also revealed that Vetinari himself had been on the train, disguised as one of the locomotive's stokers, and had surmised how the train had been carried across the ravine. However, he appears content that there is no evidence to prove this.

Themes[edit]

  • The Development of the Railroad
  • Steam Engines
  • Engineering
  • Technological Progress
  • Real Estate Development & Suburban Expansion
  • Eminent Domain
  • Terrorism
  • Coups-d'Etat
  • Gender

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Reading order guide
Preceded by
Snuff
40th Discworld Novel Succeeded by
TBA
Preceded by
Making Money
3rd Moist von Lipwig story
Published in 2013
Succeeded by
TBA