Bookstores across the U.K. and British Commonwealth released Terry Pratchett’s final novel on Wednesday night, five and a half months after the celebrated fantasy writer died of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Shepherd’s Crown is the 41st book in Pratchett’s Discworld series, a collection of fantasy works that rejuvenated the clichés of the genre by infusing them with comedy and an angle of social commentary. The franchise began with Pratchett’s first novel, The Colour of Magic, published in 1983. The Shepherd’s Crown is his last, written throughout his worsening struggle with Alzheimer’s.
“It was a hard book to complete because Terry’s health was declining in the last year,” Rob Wilkins, a friend of the author’s, told the BBC. “But he was still enjoying the writing.”
Many bookstores across the U.K. held midnight launch parties to celebrate the book’s publication. Within hours of its release, a number of Pratchett’s fans took to the Internet to say they had already finished reading it.