Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thud! by Terry Pratchett

Author: Terry Pratchett
ISBN # 0385608675
362 pages

1000 years ago, Koom Valley witnessed history’s most bloody (& rocky) battle between Dwarves & Trolls. It is the only battle ever recorded where both sides claim to have been ambushed by the other. And now, with just days to go till the anniversary of the massacre, it looks like history will be repeating itself in the streets of Ankh Morpork – Dwarves on one side, Trolls on the other, & the City Watch stuck right in the middle. And there’s a picture missing. And there’s a vampire in the Watch. And the Watch are being audited. It’s all going to get political. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s 6-o-clock & Commander Sam Vimes is going to read “Where’s My Cow?” to his infant son, as he does every night. Without fail. He’s never late. Because some things are Important!

Thud! is the 30th Discworld novel & sees Terry returning to the ever-popular City Watch. Vimes has come a long way since his humble beginnings as Captain over Sergeant Colon & Corporal Nobby Nobbs in Guards! Guards!, when he was little more than a drunken plot device to introduce Carrot as the possibly rightful king of Ankh Morpork. Thankfully, Pratchett knew a diamond in the rough when he created one & Vimes is now the central figure in the assortment of oddballs that make up the Watch. We’ve seen him destroy dragons, arrest the Patrician, get married, travel back in time to become his own mentor & now he faces the most arduous task of all – fatherhood!

Pratchett is quite possibly the most naturally gifted satirist writing today – he loves nothing more than to take something familiar, add something a little less commonplace & still make it seem, well, normal. He’s nothing short of a literary genius. This is his tribute to The Da Vinci Code. And possibly to Top Gear too (read it - you’ll know what I mean when you get to it). He puts a unique spin on things & makes them quintessentially Discworldian, yet you always recognise things as being completely ordinary & “round-world”. It’s a wonderful gift.

This one doesn’t quite reach the dizzy heights of the splendid Night Watch, but it’s not far off.

Rating: 8/10


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