It was interesting reading this
book right after finishing The
Baroque Cycle, because it felt in a way like a sequel
from a young adult point of view. It takes place a couple of
generations after the founding of the Royal Society, which is an
important part of the plot resolution.
It’s not a Discworld book,
and it lacks the non-stop hilarity of some of the better Discworld
books, but it’s an unusually good young adult novel, with both
male and female point of view characters.
Terry Pratchett says he wrote it because there had to
be a fourth verse to Eternal
Father, Strong to Save. It’s sung by the captain of a
ship which is lifted by a tsunami and deposited on an island:
Oh Thou who built’st the mountains high,
To be the pillars of the sky
Who gave the mighty forests birth
And made a Garden of the Earth
We pray to Thee to stretch Thy hand
To those in peril on the land.
You can hear Terry Pratchett himself sing this in on the
Barnes and Noble site.