We're still devastated by the news of Sir Terry Pratchett's passing last week. But at least there's one last book to look forward to: Pratchett's The Shepherd's Crown, a book about his young witch, Tiffany Aching.
The Shepherd's Crown had been announced as coming this fall, and as of August 2014 it was announced that Pratchett was working on it. But we checked with artist Paul Kidby, who's working on interior illustrations for the book, and he confirmed that Pratchett was indeed able to complete The Shepherd's Crown last summer, before he succumbed to the final stages of his illness.
This is fantastic news — I haven't read all of the Discworld books, but of the ones I've read, the Tiffany Aching volumes are definitely my favorites. Tiffany Aching has the kind of "coming of age" story that you don't see very often in books, especially books aimed at children — she makes real mistakes and faces very real problems.
And part of the delight of the last Tiffany Aching book, I Shall Wear Midnight, was how it allowed her to grow up and lose her childlike giddiness in the face of an often dreadful world. These books are an antidote to the overly simplistic storytelling that crops up in a lot of young-adult and middle-grade fiction. And I'm dying to see what Tiffany Aching looks like as an older teenager or possibly a young adult.
There's still no publication date for The Shepherd's Crown, but we'll let you know when we find out more. [Thanks to Danny for the heads up]