|Publication date||September 1990|
|Main characters||Masklin, Grimma, Gurder|
|All data relates to the first UK edition.|
'It wasn't a thing, it was a bit of shaped sky ...'.
Somewhere in a place so far up there is no down, a ship is waiting to take the nomes home - back to wherever they came from. And one nome, Masklin, knows that they've got to try and contact this ship..
It means going to Florida (whatever that is), then getting to the launch of a communications satellite (whatever that is). A ridiculous plan. Impossible. But Masklin doesn't know this so he tries to do it anyway. And the first step is to try and hitch a ride on a new kind of truck, a truck with wings - Concorde ...
Masklin, Angalo and Abbot Gurder head out from the Quarry with The Thing to the airport. They find a newspaper which mentions Richard Arnold ("Grandson Richard, 39"), a grandson of the Arnold Brothers who founded the department store in Truckers. It states he is travelling to Florida to witness the launch of a satellite. The Thing states that if it can be placed on a satellite, it will be able to contact Starship Swan, which is buried on the moon and waiting to bring the nomes back to their home planet.
The trio enter the airport and stow away on a Concorde flight. They find Grandson Richard and hide in his hand luggage. Arriving in Florida, they are soon discovered by Grandson Richard. They escape into the Everglades and meet a tribe of nomes led by Pion, who speak the original language of the nomes. The Thing translates; Pion's tribe have learned to fly on geese and are in contact with thousands of nomes around the world. They use geese to fly to the space shuttle launch. By placing The Thing close enough, it is able to copy part of itself into the satellite's computer. The nomes then turn and run to survive the explosive sound of the shuttle’s takeoff.
When they recover, they find the Thing has drained its power reserves. To revive it, Masklin heads off alone to the nearby buildings and reveals himself to the humans, who take him captive. Placed by a power source, the Thing recharges and translates so that Masklin can speak to Grandson Richard. He reveals that his grandfather and great-uncle suspected that the nomes lived in the department store. He helps Masklin escape. Masklin is then picked up by the Starship Swan, with Angalo, Gurder and Pion on board. They follow another Concorde back to England and find the Quarry nomes driving a digger while being chased by police. The ship rescues the nomes and Masklin reconciles with Grimma (as told in Diggers). The nomes return to their homeland, apart from Gurder. He is left behind with The Thing to help find other nomes to bring back, with the plan to come back with them one day.
- Third and final book in the Bromeliad series
- Originally published in Great Britain by Doubleday.
Copyright (c) 1990 by Terry and Lynn Pratchett