For I am the crowd and I am the ball
I am the triumph and the blame
I am the turf, the pies, the All
Always and ever, I am the Game.
It matters not who won or lost
Nothing is the score you made
Fame is a petal that curls in the frost
But I will remember how you played.

In Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel, football (not the American kind) comes to the disc. The wizards of Unseen University discover that a large percentage of their funding, in the form of a trust, will soon dry up should they fail to meet their benefactor’s stipulation that they compete in the game “foot-the-ball” occasionally.

The wizards, of course, are apprehensive about joining in such a violent street game, but they quickly change their minds when told that they would have to give up having nine meals a day if the funding were cut.

With the unexpected approval of Lord Vetinari, the wizards seek to clean-up and modernize the game…and to learn how to play it for themselves. The results, as is usual with Pratchett, result in the ensuing of hilarity. Throw in an Übervaldian Orc as their coach, the Director of Postmortem Communications (don’t say “necromancer!”) and the usual oddities, and you’ve got yourself a Discworld novel.

Unseen Academicals is up to Pratchett’s usual standards: more fun than a barrel of monkeys…but don’t call the Librarian one. Ever.