Tonight we complete the Small Gods bookclub, as Mike S recaps the eleventh and final section of the book. Mike S recapped the first section here, James K recapped the second section here and Mike the third here, fourth here, fifth here, and sixth here. James and Mike recapped the seventh and eighth sections here. Mike recapped the ninth and tenth sections here. The complete list of sections can be found here.
That’s all the boilerplate stuff. Let’s get started.
From “Brutha was aware of feet running up the steps.” to the end.
Om, having demonstrated his existence to a huge crowd and turned them into fervent believers, is suddenly more powerful than ever. He announces that Brutha is His Prophet and asks Brutha (whom Urn and Simony have hastily freed) for a new set of commandments. He receives many suggestions (generally aimed towards social improvement, though Dhblah is refreshingly self-serving.) Om favors a quick “Thou Shalt Not Kill” followed by a round of godly smiting. Brutha holds out for a bargain: commandments that apply to both god and man. Om, hates the idea, but agrees, whether out of pragmatism or gratitude. At that point, Om (who is now pretty damned himself-niscient) announces the approach of the Ephebian/Tsortean/Everyone who wants to crush Omnia once and for allean fleet. Brutha, unwilling to ask his god to smite them, wants to talk to them. Simony, who’s a soldier and a patriot (he hated Vorbis, not Omnia) wants to fight for the Truth. Brutha tells him that’s not what truth is for. Brutha, Simony, and Urn walk down to the beach together, bearing Vorbis’s body.
Vorbis is with Death, at the start of the same desert as the other deceased we’ve met. Unlike most of them, he wasn’t killed by Vorbis. And unlike all of them, he’s too afraid to start walking. He was completely empty inside, so now he’s nothing at all.
Brutha is brought to speak with the Ephebean general. He shows them that Vorbis is dead, and offers to surrender unconditionally. He even offers to let them build temples to other gods here, when a certain interested party interrupts. Brutha stops and explains that he has to pray (that is, argue with Om.) He does, and uses Om’s vanity (disbelief that these other gods could get any converts) to get him to agree. Everything seems to be going smoothly, when the rest of the Omnians arrive, accompanied by Urn’s tank, ready for a war. The Ephebeans had started out ready, so it seems inevitable. Urn is horrified: he’d never dreamed that his invention would be used against his countrymen.
Om speeds off to Cori Celesti, the Olympus of Discworld, and starts smiting gods instead of people. He breaks a thunder god’s nose, and smashes a horn-of-plenty over a sun god’s head. When he’s done showing them who’s boss, he unleashes a torrential downpour on the prospective battlefield. Frightened soldiers from all nations shelter under the tank, and in their gratitude to be alive, share their smokes and booze. Death, who’s been waiting for the battle to start, realizes it’s a no-go and leaves. As the wind smashes a ship, they all go together to rescue the trapped sailors. Simony rants that the storm proves that gods are evil, and from now on he’ll spend his time help people. Brutha just smiles.
Brutha, now Cenobiarch, finds the right job for each man. He makes Didactylos a bishop, to give the Church a more humble philosophy. Simony becomes the head of the Quisition, with the charter of destroying it as bloodlessly as possible. Urn is in charge of things that require practical science.
Lu-Tze returns back to his monastery, explaining that everything is fine now, though he had to make some minor adjustments (e.g. moving a dung heap to where Om would fall safely, and disabling the tank.) Where the old history said that Brutha was killed and there was a hundred years of war, in the new version, he lived and presided over a hundred years of peace. That abbot shakes his head; that Lu-Tze, always overstepping. Then he goes back to playing chess with Death (who can never remember how the horsies move.)
A hundred years later to the day, Brutha dies. Death takes him to the start of the desert. Where Vorbis has been cowering for a hundred years. Or possibly forever. And it’s not that he deserves help, but Brutha is Brutha. They set off together.