Review: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

Pratchett hits another homer with Carpe Jugulumhis parody of all things vampire (or vampyre). When King Verence willingly invites the vampire rulers of Uberwald to his daughter’s naming ceremony, the vampires take the opportunity to enthrall the people of the Kingdom of Lancre and turn them into another source of food. Standing against them are Agnes Nitt, Reverend Mighty Oats, and a seriously perturbed Granny Weatherwax. The vampires, of course, don’t stand a chance.


Carpe Jugulum is Pratchett’s twisted take on all things undead, including the vampires. In it, he lampoons everything vampire-ish. Count Magpyr is the head of the vampire family and is trying to modernize the vampire image. He has turned the people of Uberwald into acceptance of vampire feeding habits by instituting a lottery to determine who gets bitten. He has been training his family to become resistant to your usual anti-vampire items: garlic, holy water, crosses, sunlight, and so on. The book title is also a play on the saying “carpe diem”, which means “seize the day”. Which, in this case, the Count takes literally by slathering sunblock on his kids to make them sun resistant.

All this modernization disturbs the Magpyr’s family servant, Igor. Igor is a traditionalist and has no truck with the modern way. Igor is the best character in the book, and one of the most memorable of the whole series. Igor not only speaks with a heavy lisp, he is also composed of parts of his ancestors. So when someone says “You have your father’s eyes”, its the literal truth. Igor has also created his own faithful dog companion, Scraps. Hilarious.

The story itself is another good one. What happens when vampires take over? Well, for a start, bad things. While a few people seem to be resistant to the vampires’ mind control effects, it all comes down to Granny in the end. And since she was ‘snubbed’ for the naming ceremony, she isn’t in the mood to help, until things get seriously wrong. Then more bad things happen, this time to the vampires.

About the only thing I can knock this book for is its length. It seems to be a bit long for what it is, and, aside from all the funny bits, the story moves at a sedate pace. Otherwise, this is a great Discworld novel, with the bonus that knowledge of the other books isn’t required to enjoy it.