I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett
The fourth in the Tiffany Aching subseries of the Discworld novels, finds Tiffany on her own as the Witch of the chalk, dealing with the lunacy of rumours, and somebody, somewhere who is igniting fear, whipping up dark thoughts, setting people against witches, who, after all, are mostly like Tiffany - doing the mucky, tricky, icky bits in life, caring for the needy, helping the elderly, burying the dead, and birthing the tricky arrivals, looking after the downtrodden.
Bit of a metaphor for life in Victoria right now with the lunatic fringe whipping up hysteria and conspiracy theories left right and centre, very hard not to see a lot of the Cunning Man's methodology in some "characters" in real life right now - as long as you consider Cunning to be more rat and less clever. But in this novel Tiffany is under attack from multiple fronts, and it's up to her, and the Wee Free Men, aided by a dead Baron's guard, and Captain Carrot from the Watch to sort out the idiots and keep everyone - including themselves - safe.
Perhaps it was the timing of listening to this - in the middle of a Pandemic, with lockdowns to keep people safe, and all the whispering and fear mongering and pathetic carry on from certain quarters... but I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT felt particularly apt, and particularly uplifting.
It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren't sparkly, aren't fun, don't involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone - or something - is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root - before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
Chilling drama combines with laugh-out-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.