Saturday, September 29, 2012

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Today I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, the sixth in his Sam Vimes/Ankh-Morpork Watch subseries. So that means I've read...

1. Guards! Guards!
2. Men At Arms
3. Feet of Clay
4. Jingo

You'll notice that #5 (conveniently named The Fifth Elephant) is missing from that list. That's because I had #6 on my shelf waiting to be read...and The Fifth Elephant was on a library shelf somewhere.

In Night Watch, Vimes is sent back in time when a magical incident takes place during an attempted arrest. Vimes finds himself in the Ankh-Morpork of his youth...just a few days before an historic revolution is set to take place. He needs to arrest the criminal and get back to his own time - but he can't just abandon his younger self, or the pathetic Night Watch, to the injustices and dangers embroiling the city.

Vimes knows what happened in the history books, but now he's living the history, and he doesn't know if Doing The Job In Front of Him will change the timeline. If he does the right thing, he could change history, meaning that his present would cease to exist.

...unless it never happened.

And if the criminal reveals Vimes's identity- particularly to Young Sam Vimes - the consequences could be catastrophic.

Pratchett manages to juggle the time-travel conundrums with cleverness, suspense, and wit. The stakes continue to rise throughout the book as the revolution rises, the soldiers are mustered to keep order, people panic, and Someone Does Something Stupid.

Vimes has always been a strong character in the Discworld series, and this book explores further the depths of his ethics, honor, and hard-earned experience.

Also, since Vimes traveled to the past, Night Watch is a great opportunity to see a lot of our favorite Ankh-Morpork characters as they were Back In The Day. Without giving away any major spoilers, we meet Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Young Havelock Vetinari, and, of course, Young Sam Vimes. (The interaction between Vimes and his younger self is very well done.)
With his typical insight into human nature, Pratchett provides great commentary on mob mentality, revolutionary idealism, Glorious Last Stands (and the corresponding intestines) and the identity of The People.

Truth, Justice, Freedom - and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

A great read. I give it a 7/10.

And now I guess it's off-to-the-library for The Fifth Elephant...?

No comments:

Post a Comment