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Cover art by Josh Kirby
Illustrator(s) Josh Kirby
Publisher Victor Gollancz
Publication date August 1990
ISBN 0575600012
Pages 160
Main characters Rincewind, Eric, Death, The Luggage
Series Rincewind Series
Annotations View
All data relates to the first UK edition.


Eric is the Discworld's only demonology hacker. Pity he's not very good at it.

All he wants is three wishes granted. Nothing fancy - to be immortal, rule the world, have the most beautiful woman in the world fall madly in love with him, the usual stuff. But instead of a tractable demon, he calls up Rincewind, probably the most incompetent wizard in the universe, and the extremely intractable and hostile form of travel accessory known as the Luggage.

With them on his side, Eric's in for a ride through space and time that is bound to make him wish (quite fervently) again - this time that he'd never been born.

Plot Summary

As indicated by the crossed-out portion of the title, a parody of Faust.

On a blazingly hot Ankh-Morpork summer afternoon, Rincewind the wizard, trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions after the events of Sourcery, attempts to return to the Disc.

His attempted return attracts the attention of Death (who is pretty much used to Rincewind doing unusual things), and the wizards, who ultimately use the Rite of AshkEnte to get Death to tell them what is going on.

Meanwhile, demonologist Eric Thursley attempts to summon a demon, managing to rescue Rincewind in the process (unknown to either, Duke Vassenego arranges this as part of his plot against Astfgl).

Rincewind convinces Eric that he's not a demon, but the sudden appearance of the Luggage (which follows Rincewind everywhere) convinces Eric that he was right in the first place. Eric then makes three wishes:

  • mastery of the kingdoms of the world
  • meeting the most beautiful woman who has ever lived
  • living for ever (the text reads "for ever", which becomes a significant point later; presumably Eric wanted to live "forever", which is a little different)

and a chest of gold "just to be getting on with it".

Meanwhile, Astfgl, the new King of the Demons, is trying to adjust to his new position, annoyed that:

  • no one can pronounce his name yet
  • the "old guard" almost-but-not-quite disobey him, and are plotting against him
  • the Gods ignore him

To demonstrate he has no power, Rincewind snaps his fingers, transporting himself and Eric about a thousand miles above the Disc. A second snap transports them to a Tezuman Empire (ruled by the Great Muzuma). The Tezumen (plural of Tezuman) accept Eric as Ruler of the World, and shower him with tribute and speeches.

The Tezumen, however, have not invented paper (communication between them and Eric/Rincewind is via stone tablet), nor the wheel (they use disks with holes as jewelry, currency, and hats, but not as wheels), and their calendar counts down, giving them a suicidally gloomy and pessimistic view of life (well, that, plus the swamps, hummingbird-sized mosquitoes, lack of metal ore, volcanoes, weather, etc).

After Rincewind rescues explorer Ponce da Quirm (who's wasted all his life searching for the Fountain of Youth), he learns (by reading a large collection of stone blocks) that the Tezumen intend to kill (in an exquisitely painful manner) the Ruler of the World (ie, Eric), and Rincewind. Rincewind and da Quirm try to leave quietly, but are captured.

Just as they're about to be killed, the Tezuman god Quezovercoatl appears. Contrary to his appearance in visions and statues, he is only 6 inches high. As he's about to give the Tezumen Astfgl's new directive, he is crushed by the Luggage (requiring him to spend several centuries regenerating in one of the nether hells, since demons apparently can't die), which is racing to re-unite with Rincewind.

The Tezumen release Rincewind, Eric, and da Quirm, and decide to worship the Luggage as a God. Rincewind gives Eric's parrot to da Quirm as a present.

Rincewind snaps his fingers again, landing himself and Eric in the Tsortean Horse, a ruse concocted by Ephebian leader Lavaeolus to conquer the city of Tsort. Lavaeolus correctly assumes that the Tsorteans will think the horse contains an invading force. Instead, while the Tsorteans are waiting for the Ephebians to come out of the horse, the Ephebians "nip round the back" and slip in through Tsort's unguarded back gate, accidentally assisted by Rincewind and Eric, who were trying to leave.

Despite his best efforts, Rincewind is influential in getting Eric to meet the beautiful Elenor.

Rincewind and Eric are sent back in time to when the Creator was making the world. They have a discussion about the Discworld. Later, Rincewind and Eric discuss the meaning of living forever. Rincewind tosses his egg and cress sandwich into the water, starting the formation of life. Eric's wishes are now used up, requiring Rincewind to find a way to save them.

Rincewind and Eric are then sent to Hell, which they basically run through, meeting Ponce da Quirm and Eric's Parrot. Ponce da Quirm explains that he found the Fountain of Youth, but forgot to boil any still water found in the wild, and subsequently died from the bacteria in the water. At the end of the book, Rincewind and Eric escape, and Astfgl is promoted to Lifetime President of Hell, a mainly maintenance job, which he is completely happy with.


Main characters

Minor characters



Sentient Species

Supernatural Entities

Things/People Mentioned


The original edition of Eric was a large-format paperback published by Gollancz featuring fifteen illustrations by Josh Kirby. Afterwards a standard Corgi paperback of Eric was published without the illustrations, though a detail from one of them was used as the cover. The illustrations were reinstated for a later smaller format edition under the title The Illustrated Eric.



Adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 2013, directed by Joquil Panting.



Rincewind is present when the Creator reads the Octavo to create the universe. This might explain why one of the Octavo's spells chooses to jump into Rincewind's mind when it sees him: it recognises him from the time of creation.

Other Stuff

  • Ninth published Discworld book.
  • Fourth book in the series of Rincewind-books.
  • First illustrated Discworld book.
  • The hardcover and, unusually, paperback rights are held by Victor Gollancz Ltd.
  • Cover and internal illustrations by Josh Kirby.
  • Each edition uses a different font for the crossed out “Faust” and handwritten “Eric”.


First Edition Cover by Josh Kirby
First paperback editon
Vista paperback
Paperback 2004 (Italian)
Audio Cassette
Audio CD
Paperback ROC Publishing
Gollancz Top 50 edition
US Cover
Illustrated Edition
Unseen Library Edition
Collectors Library Edition
Gollancz "50 Years of Terry" edition

External Links

Eric Annotations - The Annotated Pratchett File

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