This book is one of those "stand-alone" Discworld books. The Assassin's Guild does appear, but most of the Ankh Morpork characters don't. Instead, it stars Teppic, a (new) member of the Assassin's Guild, unexpectedly called back to become the Pharoh of the desert Kingdom Djelibeybi. Basically, he has to struggle with a High Priest telling him what to do, while unsuspectingly making a big mess of his father's pyramid.
In Pyramids, the starring character is clearly Teppic. And maybe his father, the Late King (I find the Late King the most entertaining fellow in the book). To me, the book is about tradition versus mordenity, and so, doesn't actually have a villain. But I guess Dios, the ancient High Priest, comes as close to a villain as possible, with him forever telling Teppic what to do. Apart from the three characters mentioned above, there's also Ptracie, the "headstrong handmaiden", although she spends most of the book being so straightforwards as to appear inept.
Apart from the whole tradition/modernity thing, the book also takes a look at Royalty. I mean, there's no Royalty in Ankh-Morpork (The Patrician is a tryant, not a royal after all), so this book explored how people viewed royalty and the extremes that it can go to (such as cutting of the hand that touched a royal). That accounts for a lot of the humour in the book, because Teppic has been away for so long that he's out of touch with how the people of Djelibeybi feel.
"The king ambled toward him in a nonchalant way designed to make the master builder feel he was among friends. Oh no, Ptaclusp though, he's going to Remember my Name.The amazing thing about this book is that at the end, there's a section that introduces Discworld, with the customary humour in the books themselves. Because I brought this along with me to a Kendo taikai (competition), I got to introduce Rena to the book. And yes, she laughed a lot. In fact, I think that there may be one more fan to the Discworld series.
Why couldn't kings order people around like the old days? You knew where you were then, they didn't go around being charming and treating you as some sort of equal, as if you could make the sun rise too."
Now, does anyone know where to find a copy of Jingo? That's the book that Rena (and I) want to read the most.