Terry Pratchett,
(Transworld, 1990;
Delacorte, 1991)

The Truth is out there.

So are the nomes.

If you have read Diggers, the second book in Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy, then you sort of know how the third and concluding book, Wings will end. But the question remains: how do we get there? -- and that's the question Wings proposes to answer.

While Grimma and Dorcas hold down the quarry and try to keep most of the nomes from doing anything too silly, Masklin, hero of the first book, Truckers, Gurder, formerly of the Stationeri of the Store (Arnold Bros. est. 1905) and nominal Abbot, and the adventure-seeking Angalo set out to find Grandson Richard, 39, who is on the way to a satellite launch in Florida. They need to use the satellite to contact the Ship that brought the first nomes to Earth so many centuries ago so that they can go "home."

They bring along the Thing, the black box which, when in proximity to electricity, becomes practically chatty, helping them find their way on board -- the Concorde. Once aboard, they deal with the problems of finding shelter and food, but Angalo nearly blows their cover when his curiosity becomes too much to resist. Still, they manage to reach their destination -- encountering Grandson Richard, 39, along the way -- only to make a startling discovery.

They are not alone.

This has serious implications for their Quest. If there are nomes in Florida, then presumably there are nomes everywhere, and if so, do they have the right to take the Ship and leave them behind? But there's no time to consider these questions if they're going to make it to the launch -- which they do, thanks to the Floridian gnomes and some handy geese.

Interspersed with the story is an account of a group of frogs living in a bromeliad in the rain forest and their trek to another flower, about which all there is to say is mipmip. At least, that's what the frogs had to say about it. This bit explains the name of the trilogy and also teaches you to count in frog.

The plot moves swiftly and is rather linear -- things seem to fall into place rather quickly, but on the whole, it is an enjoyable romp. Masklin, while still introspective, seems to loosen up a bit and think outside the box while Gurder has a nome's equivalent of a spiritual crisis and epiphany. The Thing also takes on its own personality; think John Cleese crossed with Marvin the Robot from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

If you enjoyed Truckers and Diggers, what more is there to say, except take off with Wings!

[ by Donna Scanlon ]

Buy Wings from Amazon.com.