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WINTERSMITH by Terry Pratchett


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Science Fiction Book Club

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Most people call a group of witches a coven, 13-year-old Tiffany Aching soberly observed. But what it ought to be called is an argument, after the one thing witches did best. Well, at least with one another. Down-to-earth Granny Weatherwax distrusts Mrs. Earwig's flashy “wizardry in a dress.” Simple Nanny Ogg dislikes Miss Tick's reliance on books. And tempestuous Annagramma disapproves of Tiffany—period.

This drive to disagree is apparent even as Tiffany resumes her training under 113-year-old grand-hag Miss Treason, reputedly no one to argue with, let alone disobey. Yet for all her good intentions, Tiffany does just that when she's brought to watch some black-clad Morris Dancers weave the symbolic transition from Summer to Winter—and is plainly told to stay put. Before anyone can say First Sight and Second Thoughts, Tiffany finds herself in the midst of the dance, the only person to face the Wintersmith—an Elemental expecting to meet its opposite, Summer…not the unlikely bravado of a human girl.

Now Tiffany's in a terrifying bind. For in joining the Dark Dance of the Wintersmith, she's become part of nature's oldest Story, changing the seasonal elements in the process. Summer is forced back underground, allowing winter's fury to reign supreme, while the Wintersmith seeks to become human…to woo poor Tiffany for himself. And to top it all off, Miss Treason meets a long-overdue demise, leaving the ice and snow of a season out-of-whack to endlessly pile up, threatening the good folk of the Chalk. It will take all the witches' wisdom to help Tiffany find her way clear of the Dark Dance…before the quest of the Wintersmith becomes the stuff of winterkill. Illustrated by Bill Mayer. (Approx. 323 pp.) 2006.

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