Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes by Terry Pratchett is the first book in The Bromeliad Trilogy – which as you may have guessed is about Nomes – 4 inch high people like creatures that because of the size the book explains live much faster than humans.
The story takes place in the 90’s (despite this first book being published in 1989) and we follow Masklin a fairly young Nome who lives near a motorway cafe with what’s left of his Tribe; of which there isn’t many of them due to food shortage and foxes. The youngest left to find a better place to live but never returned and so Masklin was left to fend for the rest of them in increasingly difficult circumstances and a barrel of complaints from the elderly. And so Masklin decides there is no future for them here and formulates a plan to stow away on a truck from the bear by service station. When they finally agree to ago, it’s a struggle to get them all – and The Thing – aboard a truck but they manage it.
The truck eventually stops at a department store called Arnold Bros, where they quickly find there are other Nomes in the world living right under human’s noses in the department store itself. However they are a strange lot with a religion based around Arnold Bros. (est 1905) and divided into fractions by the different departments of the store. And then there’s all the new human things that Masklin and his tribe have never seen before ceilings, books, carpet, etc. The Nomes of Arnold Bros. (est 1905) however have never been outside, they don’t even believe in it but they may have to if the rumours about the department store being demolished are true.
This has all the Pratchett charm but reels in on the somewhat “out there” aspects that you find in his Discworld series.
The characters are full, comical and you’ll probably find at least one Nome that is just like someone you know.
It’s all poking a bit of fun at human nature, society, religion and politics but all wrapped up in a charming adventure that you’re taken on along with the Nomes. You’re so with them that you’re routing for them at every bump in the road even when the huge impossible obstacles are in their way.
I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would because I was so quickly pulled into the story that before I knew it, I was through a good many chapters. It’s a little like The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents in a much less fairy tale world.
Would really recommend this is you want something entertaining but light with a good measure of the underdog becoming somewhat of reluctant leader/hero.