The nomes in The Nomes Trilogy (also known as The Bromeliad Trilogy) are far smaller than your average common or garden gnome, usually about four inches high. They also live far shorter lives, which Pratchett explains by saying that on the whole small creatures do not live for a long time. The fundamental thing about the nomes in the nome trilogy, however, is that they are shipwrecked aliens that have forgotten their extraterrestrial origins.
The three books chart the journey of the gnomes back to the home they had forgotten. In the first book, Truckers, a small band of gnomes is dying out and needs to take action. Under the leadership of a gnome called Masklin they stow away on a truck and move on to pastures new. Soon they end up in a department store called Arnold Brothers (est 1905) where they meet up with another group of gnomes. Masklin and his group had brought an ancient artifact simply called the thing with them. When inside the shop the thing (which was the navigation computer for their original spaceship) is able to charge itself up and communicate with the nomes. The thing discovers plans to demolish Arnold Brothers (est 1905) and all the nomes (which tend to start arguing and bickering when they are left to their own devices) are forced to move out which they do by stealing another truck and driving it with a Heath Robinson system of ropes, levers, pulleys and such finally abandoning it and taking up home in an abandoned quarry.
In the second book, Diggers, Masklin along with Abbot Gurder, Angalo and The Thing go and investigate the nearby airport. Masklin, having gathered from a newspaper that the Richard Arnold (grandson of one of the original owner of Arnold Brothers)was going to Florida to watch the launch of his first communications satellite. The thing had told Masklin that the gnomes crashed to earth in a small ship, the main ship still being hidden in a hole on the moon and if The Thing could be got into space it could summon the main ship and get all the gnomes back home. Masklin has not confided this to his friends but this is his real plan. Left without Masklin the gnomes go back to politicking. Before long the humans were up to their old tricks again and start to visit the quarry. Having read Gulliver’s travels Grimma, Masklin friend, rallies the gnomes and they attack and tie up a security guard and after a few more adventures escape in a JCB which Dorcas, the engineer that repaired it and organised its driving, called Jecub because JCB is not pronounceable any other way. In America, where JCB is not so well know, they called it a John Deere.
The ‘third’ book, Wings, runs concurrently with diggers. Masklin and crew stow away on the Concorde that Richard Arnold is on. They get to Florida in his hand luggage and meet up with some florida gnomes. Flying by goose to the satellite launch site the thing is able to reprogram the satellite rocket’s computer and get it to wake up the gnomes ship and send it to earth. It worked (just) and the four (including the thing) escape on the spaceship and make it back to the quarry where the other gnomes were having a bit of trouble with the police. They realise that the spaceship belongs to all gnomes and not just them but they decide to borrow it and bring the ship back for all the other gnomes later. Gurder and The Thing (who has made a copy of himself on the ships computer so it can still navigate) stay on earth to try and contact all the other gnomes and tell them of their origins and the return of spaceship. The rest go off in the spaceship to find a planet they can call their own.