1. The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning (1842)

The whole basis of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents comes from the old tale of the Pied Piper who comes into towns and uses his pipe to lead away rats, and then in the original story, children as well. The first line of Pratchett’s book is taken from a poem by Robert Browning about the Pied Piper and this theme comes up repeatedly. Pratchett cleverly turns the idea on its head by making the rats and the piper plot together against the townspeople, instead of the town scheming to get rid of the rats.

2. Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault (1697)

As a book that centres on a clever, magical talking cat that schemes to cheat people to gain wealth, it would be odd if the story of Puss in Boots – a clever cat that used tricks to gain money – was not mentioned. At different points, the book and character are referenced both indirectly and by name. Maybe, just maybe, they’re distant relatives…

3. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1901)

Each chapter starts with a quote from a book that only exists within the story called Mr Bunnsy has an Adventure. This is based on the stories of Peter Rabbit and throughout the book, we get descriptions of characters that sound very much like our favourite fictional bunnies including ‘a rabbit who walked on its hind legs and wore a blue suit’. Sound familiar?

4. Dick Whittington by Joseph Jacobs (1890)

Dick Whittington is a rags-to-riches story of a man who sells his cat to hunt rats; he makes a lot of money and later becomes Mayor of London. In The Amazing Maurice, they tell the story of Dick Livingstone (a mix of Dick Whittington and Ken Livingstone, who really was the Mayor of London for a while) and how he became famous because his cat chased pigeons.

5. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

Maurice gives a nod to the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland when he says ‘you know the kind of cat that grins all the time? Heard of that? Well, I’m the kind that makes, you know, weird faces’.

6. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton (1942)

In the book, Malicia Grim, the mayor’s daughter, brings to mind the escapades of The Famous Five when she says it is a shame she, Maurice, and Keith aren’t four children and a dog as that is the perfect number for an adventure.

7. Fairytales from the Brothers Grimm (1812)

The Brothers Grimm wrote many of the most famous fairy tales including Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, both of which are mentioned in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. As well as their stories being mentioned, the Brothers themselves are also alluded to when Malicia Grim references some relatives, the Sisters Grim, who write fairy tales.

  • The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

    Discworld Novels

  • Maurice, a streetwise tomcat, has the perfect money-making scam. Everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers, and Maurice has a stupid-looking kid with a pipe, and his very own plague of rats - strangely educated rats . . .

    But in Bad Blintz, the little con suddenly goes down the drain. For someone there is playing a different tune and now the rats must learn a new word.

    EVIL.

    It's not a game anymore. It's a rat-eat-rat world. And that might only be the start . . .

    'Ethically challenging, beautifully orchestrated, philosophically opposed to the usual plot fixes of fantasy.' The Guardian

    'An astonishing novel'
    Financial Times

    Written by the beloved and acclaimed fantasty writer, Terry Pratchett.

  • Buy the book

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