Small Gods by Terry Pratchett audiobook review – terrifically narrated by Andy Serkis

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A comic satire on religious dogmatism first published in 1992, Small Gods is set in the theocratic state of Omnia in a barren corner of Discworld ruled by the Quisition. There, the great god Om – who has accidentally assumed the shape of a tortoise and lost his divine powers – has fallen to earth and landed in the Citadel’s vegetable garden.

Om gets the attention of a novice monk named Brutha, seemingly the only one who can hear him, and sets about convincing him of his godliness. Meanwhile, Vorbis, the fearsome head of the Quisition, tricks Brutha into helping him track down the heretics who insist the world is flat and attached to the back of a turtle travelling through space. Brutha is persuaded to go on a journey to Ephebe, home to a community of philosophers, where Omnian soldiers ransack the city and burn down its libraries.

The 13th book in the Discworld fantasy series, Small Gods is terrifically narrated by actor Andy Serkis who makes the most of Pratchett’s outre cast of characters, from Brutha, whose voice resembles “a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey”, to Vorbis, who is given a pleasingly villainous drawl. Meanwhile, Bill Nighy pops up to read the late author’s famous footnotes and Peter Serafinowicz is the voice of Death. This is one of 40 new recordings of Pratchett’s books, which also include the Witches series, read by Indira Varma; the Death series, narrated by Fleabag’s Sian Clifford; and the Wizards series, voiced by Merlin’s Colin Morgan.

• Small Gods is available on Penguin Audio, 11hr 58min.

Further listening

Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life
Delia Ephron, Penguin Audio, 7hr 37min
The author narrates her touching memoir about grief, illness and finding love in her 70s.
The Paris Apartment
Lucy Foley, HarperCollins, 12hr 25min
An ensemble cast including Clare Corbett, Daphne Kouma, Sofia Zervudachi and Julia Winwood read this murder-mystery set in an apartment building in the French capital.

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