It's Hogswatchnight on Discworld and the Hogfather should be riding in his sleigh pulled by his four pigs, a large sack of toys piled behind him. He should be slipping down chimneys to leave presents and partake in the sherry and turnips left by children. But something has gone wrong. The Hogfather seems to have disappeared.
A mysterious entity has contracted the guild of assassins to inhume the Hogfather. And one mentally unbalanced assassin-- extreme even by guild standards-- agrees to take the job. With the Hogfather nowhere to be found Death steps in to take over his duties. Meanwhile at Unseen University, the wizards are experiencing odd occurrences of their own. Gods seems to be popping into existence the minute they are thought of.
Susan would like nothing better than to ignore the warnings the Death of Rats tries to give her. In fact, she'd like to forget that anything supernatural exists, but being Death's granddaughter make these things hard to ignore. Especially when Granddad is parading around as the Hogfather. She sets her off to investigate and is joined by the Death of Rats, a talking Raven and the Oh God of Hangovers.
While I am a fan of the Discworld books, I would not recommend The Hogfather for anyone new to the series. At times the story was unclear and seemed to wander around a bit before getting to the point. There is a side story about a rediscovered bathroom in Unseen University that I expected to have a reason for existing. It never does have a purpose in the plot.
Many of the familiar Discworld characters are here-- Death, Susan, The wizards at Unseen University-- but the story is only fair. Fans of the Discworld series may want to check out The Hogfather if they've never read it, but I would not list this one among my favorites.
The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Reprinted by Harper
Hogfather is available at Amazon.com
I borrowed a copy of The Hogfather from the library