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Cover art by Jonny Duddle
Illustrator(s) Jonny Duddle
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 11 Sep 2008
ISBN 0385613709
Pages 404
RRP £16.99
Main characters Daphne, Mau
Series [[:Category:|]]
Annotations View
All data relates to the first UK edition.


Finding himself alone on a tropical island when everything and everyone he knows and loved has been washed away in a huge storm, Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He's also completely alone - or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird and gives him a stick which can make fire. Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She's certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship's parrot. As it happens, they are not alone for long. Other survivors start to arrive to take refuge on the island they all call the Nation and then raiders accompanied by murderous mutineers from the Sweet Judy. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things - including how to milk a pig and why spitting in beer is a good thing - and start to forge a new Nation.

As can be expected from Terry Pratchett, the master story-teller, this new children's novel is both witty and wise, encompassing themes of death and history/memory, while being extremely funny. Mau's ancestors have something to teach us all. Mau just wishes they would shut up about it and let him get on with saving everyone's lives!

Human Characters

Non-Human Characters

Gods and God-like Entities

Things and Concepts


A word from the author

Saturday 21st June 2008:-

In the current edition of the Waterstones magazine, Books Quarterly no. 29 (For non-UK readers, Waterstones is a major British bookselling chain) there is an four-page feature where Terry Pratchett is interviewed by Neil Gaiman.

The interview contains this interesting snippet concerning the writing of Nation:-

I spent the better part of a year working on "Nation", which is a non-Discworld children's book. It was a hell of a job because it wasn't Discworld and and it wasn't Johnny Maxwell. It wasn't something I have envisaged myself writing but it absolutely needed to be written and I had to learn the toolkit for it


Maori folklore in New Zealand honours a demigod called Maui, who was spared death by drowning at sea at the whim of the sea gods. Educated by the sky-god, he is then returned to his people to lead and teach them. Unfortunately, this appears to be the only Maui myth relevant to the Pratchett character Mau.
There is, though, Mau Piailug (1932-2010), a famous Micronesian navigator. It doesn't have to be a myth.



Adapted into a stage-play by Mark Ravenhill in 2009, a revised performance edition of the script was published by Heinemann in the same year.

Fan Film

The newspaper 'The Guardian' ran a competition for young fans of the novel to produce a short film based on an extract from the book, 2009.


The novel was serialised in eight parts by BBC Radio 4, it was read by Matt Addis and broadcast in 2010.


First Edition Cover by John Duddle
Slipcase Collectors Edition
Audio CD
Cover by Bill Mayer
Theatre Tie-in cover
Cover by Laura Ellen Anderson
Promotional Pen-text side
Promotional Pen-picture side