"I really did enjoy writing Monstrous Regiment, which in a way became very close to becoming mainstream. With minimal changes it could have been set in the Peninsular Wars in the real world. [...] As a matter of fact I did a lot of interesting work for Monstrous Regiment in lesbian book shops."
Terry Pratchett in an interview with Neil Gaiman about his latest book, Snuff
Monstrous Regiment is the story of a country locked in an endless, draining and ridiculous war. And all the men have been used up. Polly disguises herself as a boy and signs up among the last recruits of the entire war, on a mission to find her brother. Along the way, she discovers that her fellow recruits are all... hiding their own secrets. It ends with a Joan of Arc storyline, but not from Polly.
This book is the favourite target for Discworld femslash, and has a lot of potential subtext. There's also one definite lesbian pairing, but the main focus is on ...well, feminism, rather than lesbianism. Of course, nobody actually asks...
The title is a reference to the 1558 pamphlet The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, written by John Knox . This pamphlet complained about the sudden appearance of female monarchs such as Elizabeth of England and Mary of Scotland pre-empting the natural position and authority of men.
|A close-up on the characters (I love Paul Kidby's cover art) |
From left: Jade, Sergeant Jackrum, don't know, Maladicta, Polly
If you've never read any of the Discworld novels, then this is a very good place to start - while it does feature some of the ongoing characters from the rest of the series, it's more of a stand alone title, and quite self-contained within the country of Borogravia. And trust me, you don't want to start with the 'first' Discworld novel.