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The Fifth Elephant

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They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job. Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job. Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a position of some significant diplomatic responsibility. If you don't really do diplomacy or haven't been to school with the right foreign bigwigs or aren't even sure whether a nod is as good as a wink to anyone, sighted or otherwise, then things are likely to go wrong. It's just a question of how badly...


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They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job. Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job. Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a position of some significant diplomatic responsibility. If you don't really do diplomacy or haven't been to school with the right foreign bigwigs or aren't even sure whether a nod is as good as a wink to anyone, sighted or otherwise, then things are likely to go wrong. It's just a question of how badly...

30 review for The Fifth Elephant

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    You know what Goodreads *really* needs? The ability for someone to leave multiple reviews of a book that they've read at multiple points in their life. I'd like to talk about my recent thoughts on this book, but I don't want to erase my old review or change the date on it. Think how nice it would be to look back on your reading history and see how your attitudes have changed over the course of your life. Books you loved as a kid that pale as you mature, versus books you liked when you were young You know what Goodreads *really* needs? The ability for someone to leave multiple reviews of a book that they've read at multiple points in their life. I'd like to talk about my recent thoughts on this book, but I don't want to erase my old review or change the date on it. Think how nice it would be to look back on your reading history and see how your attitudes have changed over the course of your life. Books you loved as a kid that pale as you mature, versus books you liked when you were young that grow even better with age... I'd love to see something like that added here. What about you guys? ***** There's worse ways to start the year than reading some Pratchett. So that's what I did. I've only read this one one once before, and that was years back, so it was fun and pretty fresh for me. I'm a big fan of Vimes, but even given my bias, this is a great book. Probably not on the level of Pratchett's best (Monstrous Regiment, Thud, Wee free Men) but still a great book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in his writing; however I feel that it has been for the better. As his book have progressed, he has leaned less toward the quick giggle and insane rush of nonsense and more toward a satirical plot with darker edges and the giggles interspersed within the story rather than his jokes running the story. The Fifth Elephant is one of Pratchett’s more plot dr I know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in his writing; however I feel that it has been for the better. As his book have progressed, he has leaned less toward the quick giggle and insane rush of nonsense and more toward a satirical plot with darker edges and the giggles interspersed within the story rather than his jokes running the story. The Fifth Elephant is one of Pratchett’s more plot driven novels, there isn’t a giggle or a chortle on every page as with some of his others. I have always liked the Guard’s series for this reason, I like a good plot. If you have not read a discworld book before, I wouldn’t advise this be your starting place, instead I would start at the beginning of whichever series it is you want to read. This being part of the Guards Series I would start with “Guards Guards” which although it is by no means the strongest entry in the series, it is a good introduction to the lead character of Samuel Vimes and his crew. Each of the following books adds additional characters who become major players in the later books. The characters truly grow through each of the books and I think that having read the previous in the series will increase your enjoyment of this one. Quick Summary: A strange theft and murder occur in Ankh-Morpork, and just as the Watch is about to investigate, The Patrician sends Vimes and his wife off to Uberwald to attend the coronation of the new Dwarfish Low King as ambassadors. While street hardened Vimes has to start learning about politicking, Angua disappears… and Carrot decides to go after her, unfortunately her trail leads to Uberwald, land of vampires, werewolves, and Dwarves who rarely come to the surface. As Sam Vimes always says – A cop will always find a crime, the origins of the strange crimes in Ankh-Morpork also lead back to Uberwald and the coronation ceremony. Vimes finds himself attempting to not only play politician and ambassador, but also detective to sort out the truth before the Dwarves are thrown into a bloody civil war. The summary sounds a bit dark doesn’t it? Well this, much like “Carpe Jugulum,” is a darker more plot driven novel, but the humor is still there. Cheery accompanies Vimes back to her homeland as military attaché and unfortunately her modern ways cause issues amongst the more traditional dwarves of Uberwald. Detrius the Troll attends as the cultural attaché, unfortunately in Uberwald the trolls and dwarves have been at war for over a hundred years… then throw in Angua’s noble yet slightly psychotic werewolf family, and a Vampire clan that’s on the wagon from drinking human blood… everyone is moving their chess pieces and poor Sam has to figure it all out. Sybil has a much larger roll in this story than in the past, and her personality really begins to develop. This book is funny, full of action, and intrigue… who stole the Scone? Who murdered the prophylactics maker? Where is the fake stone? Who is behind it all? The opposing Dwarves? The Werewolves? The Vampires? Or is it someone from within? Although I didn’t laugh nearly as much during this book, I found myself truly enjoying the read much more than some of the others. If I were to try to tell you what “The Color of Magic” was about… I really couldn’t other than to say it was about running away… True, I enjoyed it immensely, but this had a plot, a meaning, and more to learn from, I think this is an excellent addition to the Discworld series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    “So this is diplomacy.  It’s like lying, only to a better class of people.” So says Sam Vimes / Terry Pratchett in his 1999 novel The Fifth Elephant. Discworld fans also know that this 24th Discworld book was a return of the wonderfully entertaining City Watch sub series. In this edition, Pratchett has the Duke of Ankh go to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission for which Vimes is uniquely qualified. Pratchett had previously visited the vampires in Uberwald in the 23rd Discworld book, 1998’s Carpe Jugu “So this is diplomacy.  It’s like lying, only to a better class of people.” So says Sam Vimes / Terry Pratchett in his 1999 novel The Fifth Elephant. Discworld fans also know that this 24th Discworld book was a return of the wonderfully entertaining City Watch sub series. In this edition, Pratchett has the Duke of Ankh go to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission for which Vimes is uniquely qualified. Pratchett had previously visited the vampires in Uberwald in the 23rd Discworld book, 1998’s Carpe Jugulum. Here, readers finally get to see first-hand the creepy gothic Discworld region referenced in many Discworld books as a home of dwarfs, vampires, werewolves and Igors. Like all Discworld books, Sir Terry mixes in lots of humor and action with thought provoking themes and musings. Here we have fun with truth and diplomacy, eastern European folklore, royalty and conflict between orthodox and reform elements, as well as progressive politics. One aspect of this book that was an unusual surprise was the idea of Ankh-Morpork as a kind of pluralistic, multi-cultural haven, almost an ugly America; but more hospitable in some respects than the old country. Not as funny as some other Discworld novels, but complete with Pratchett’s inimitable style and humor, this is still very enjoyable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Re-Read. But you know what? Other than the whole dwarf rock bits, the murders, werewolves, theft, and Detritus's exploding crossbow, I SWEAR this is a book about Brexit. Of course, it could really be about making the European Union, but really it's about Brexit. Überwald is, of course, England. It's kinda obvious. Backward, reactionary, full of wolves, vampires, and werewolves. And Igors. Of course, Igors. Isn't that amazing? How did Pratchett predict all these events back in 1999? Hello, dwarves! O Re-Read. But you know what? Other than the whole dwarf rock bits, the murders, werewolves, theft, and Detritus's exploding crossbow, I SWEAR this is a book about Brexit. Of course, it could really be about making the European Union, but really it's about Brexit. Überwald is, of course, England. It's kinda obvious. Backward, reactionary, full of wolves, vampires, and werewolves. And Igors. Of course, Igors. Isn't that amazing? How did Pratchett predict all these events back in 1999? Hello, dwarves! Of course... the rest of the EU is actually Ankh-Morpork. Eerie. So where is EU's Vimes? Come solve the crime! :) (BTW, I liked this book the second time I read it better than the first. Tastes change and sometimes books improve.) :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    So much is happening in this 24th Discworld novel. A dwarf king will be crowned in Überwald so the Patrician is sending Sam Vimes in his capacity as duke to participate in the coronation ceremony. As, no doubt, planned by the Patrician, sending Vimes ensures that justice will be done. Because there is a theft, a murder, diplomacy, a lot of very impolite werewolves, "vegetarian" vampires and plots. Oh, and then there are regular wolves, Gaspode, and some members of the Watch (Carrot, Angua, Detrit So much is happening in this 24th Discworld novel. A dwarf king will be crowned in Überwald so the Patrician is sending Sam Vimes in his capacity as duke to participate in the coronation ceremony. As, no doubt, planned by the Patrician, sending Vimes ensures that justice will be done. Because there is a theft, a murder, diplomacy, a lot of very impolite werewolves, "vegetarian" vampires and plots. Oh, and then there are regular wolves, Gaspode, and some members of the Watch (Carrot, Angua, Detritus and Longbottom). I very much liked how the spotlight shone on characters that had been explored only marginally until now. Thus, Carrot was not the unfailing hero here so Angua got to shine much more. Angua's family history was also a nice touch. Just like Longbottom's complicated status in this sometimes backwards dwarf kingdom. Most wonderful was to see Lady Sybil stepping up and taking bars matters into her own, very capable, hands. And then there was this: Yes, that is Detritus the troll with his "crossbow". *lol* The action scenes here were not only thrilling but also hilarious in their details. Just like the conversations between the Patrician and Leonard or Fred Colon panicking because he had to take over as captain. Sir Terry addressed a lot of themes in this volume, such as the ongoing gender identity amongst some dwarves, religion, traditions, facing political and social changes (the different meanings of "changing with the times") ... we even have organ donation. Well, body-parts donation as a theme. *lol* As usual, this was like putting on your favourite piece of clothing. Like coming home. I was thrown off by the new audiobook narrator (Nigel Planer had quit and Stephen Briggs had taken over) a little at first and wasn't actually happy by the end either, but maybe it will get better in the future. I'm just used to the different voices of the different characters (especially Detritus). However, being with Sam Vimes and the other members of the Watch is always great, and it was still a wonderful addition to the series, very entertaining while also critically examining aspects of human nature.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melindam

    “Let me see if I've got this right,' said Vimes. 'Überwald is like this big suet pudding that everyone's suddenly noticed, and now with this coronation as an excuse we've all got to rush there with knife, fork and spoon to shovel as much on our plates as possible?' 'Your grasp of political reality is masterly, Vimes. Your lack only the appropriate vocabulary.” “Vetinari was throwing him amongst the wolves. And the dwarfs. And the vampires. Vimes shuddered. And Vetinari never did naything without a “Let me see if I've got this right,' said Vimes. 'Überwald is like this big suet pudding that everyone's suddenly noticed, and now with this coronation as an excuse we've all got to rush there with knife, fork and spoon to shovel as much on our plates as possible?' 'Your grasp of political reality is masterly, Vimes. Your lack only the appropriate vocabulary.” “Vetinari was throwing him amongst the wolves. And the dwarfs. And the vampires. Vimes shuddered. And Vetinari never did naything without a reason.” So His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes (aka my chosen Literary Husband) is going to the dangerous, faraway country of Überwald, where there is no Law, only The Lore, as Ambassador of Ankh-Morpork. He is of course eager (ahem) and ready to "hand round the cucumber sandwiches like anything" and to get the hang of (or just to hang) diplomacy, but his policeman's nose and insticts tell him that something is rotten in the state of Überwald and it is not the hot baths. First of all, the Scone of Stone, this most famous and priceless of dwarf bread, having seated the Low Kings of the Dwarfs since some fifteen hundred years, goes missing. The Low King cannot be Low King without this artifact. The werewolves with their mad leader, Wolfgang, who happens to be Sgt. Angua's brother, are definitely up to something. And where do the vampires, lead by the Lady Margolotta (and possibly former love interest of Lord Vetinari hmmm, hmmm) come into this picture? Vimes has a lot to figure out while incidentally also running for his life and those of others, possibly. And what has a cherry orchard with 3 spinsters got to do with it? Not much, admittedly, but I certainly appreciated the literary hint. And the humour, and poignancy, and Vimes, of course... I did tell you about,.... yes, I did, didn't I? OK. A great book in the Watch series (well, all books are great in the Watch series) and one I return to again and again with pleasure.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Aw, man! First the Scone of Stone goes missing. Then Angua disappears and Carrot is off to find her. With Sam Vimes on his way to the coronation in Uberwald, that leaves Fred Colon as Acting Captain of the Watch. The horror, the horror! He annoys everyone and makes a general mess of everything...not to mention that his "principles" make him reluctant to investigate the death of a local manufacturer of rubber preventatives. Sound confusing? It's not. At least, not yet. Throw in some assorted dwarf Aw, man! First the Scone of Stone goes missing. Then Angua disappears and Carrot is off to find her. With Sam Vimes on his way to the coronation in Uberwald, that leaves Fred Colon as Acting Captain of the Watch. The horror, the horror! He annoys everyone and makes a general mess of everything...not to mention that his "principles" make him reluctant to investigate the death of a local manufacturer of rubber preventatives. Sound confusing? It's not. At least, not yet. Throw in some assorted dwarfs, trolls, wolves and werewolves, all with their own foibles and agendas, and your head may start to spin a bit. Welcome to Discworld where just about anything can happen...and so, it DOES. I was definitely NOT expecting to meet a certain three sisters who talk a lot about the weather and how much better things used to be. One of these dissatisfied ladies has a suggestion: "You know, I bet if we cut down the cherry orchard, I'm sure we could put in a roller skating rink---" They also reluctantly offer to help clothe a nearly nude Vimes: "We have the gloomy and purposeless trousers of Uncle Vanya..." This is one terrific outing by Pratchett, who even manages to offer some marital advice: Sam Vimes could parallel process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important , because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases, such as "and they can deliver it tomorrow" or "so I've invited them for dinner" or "they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply." Learn this valuable skill, guys and gals. Yes, it does work for women, too. I use this technique when my husband's going on and on about his day at work, and believe me, it's a lifesaver!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2019. In the country of Uberwald the Low King of the dwarfs is about to be crowned. As the second largest dwarf city in the world Ankh-Morpork needs to seen a representative and the Patrician decides on the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sam Vimes. But Uberwald is a country in careful balance between vampires, werewolves and dwarfs and politics are afoot, particularly as Vimes includes Sergeant Detritus and Corporal Cheery Littlebottom i Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2019. In the country of Uberwald the Low King of the dwarfs is about to be crowned. As the second largest dwarf city in the world Ankh-Morpork needs to seen a representative and the Patrician decides on the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sam Vimes. But Uberwald is a country in careful balance between vampires, werewolves and dwarfs and politics are afoot, particularly as Vimes includes Sergeant Detritus and Corporal Cheery Littlebottom in his entourage. Trolls and dwarfs still fight each other in Uberwald, and a female dwarf is something that more traditional dwarfs get upset about. This has long been one of my favourite books in the series. All the Watch books are basically Vimes books, but his supporting cast really get to play here. Lady Sybil gets the first really great outing since she was initially introduced, and we finally see some progress in whatever is going on between Angua and Carrot. With Carrot backgrounded for most of this Detritus and Cheery also really get to shine, and this is a brilliant book for Cheery.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    8.5/10 Back to form after a disappointing outing last time with Jingo. This is another stonking effort in the Watch sub-series making it hard for me not to start raving about them to people and tell them if they’ve not read them then they need to pick them up and get cracking! Plot wise things are shaken up again. I did groan a little when I learnt that Vimes would yet again be leaving Ankh-Morpork for a distant land like in the last novel, but this time it proved to be an inspired choice and work 8.5/10 Back to form after a disappointing outing last time with Jingo. This is another stonking effort in the Watch sub-series making it hard for me not to start raving about them to people and tell them if they’ve not read them then they need to pick them up and get cracking! Plot wise things are shaken up again. I did groan a little when I learnt that Vimes would yet again be leaving Ankh-Morpork for a distant land like in the last novel, but this time it proved to be an inspired choice and worked really well adding in some new fresh characters and adding extra layers to a few we already know. A fish out of water in a new land but yet Vimes still evolves into someone to be reckoned with whilst discovering a plot to start a civil war, solving a murder and handling a union strike at home (well he didn’t do anything with that but he sorted it in spirit). There was a much darker feel to this book than I’ve previously seen in the Discworld novels (even the ones with Death which could become quite morbid if you think about it) but Terry Pratchett has enough humour in his locker to add some light relief along the way to keep things on this side of crazy batshit. I think the whole story had enough to put this at the top of my favourite Watch novels and up there with some of the better reads of the last few years (high praise indeed!). It’s good to read these as a light break in between other reads but this one shows these shouldn’t be underestimated and really do work very well as a great book on many levels. My ignorance on some of the humour is quite apparent too but that isn’t the author’s failing, that’s the English Education System (definitely not me and my lack of wanting to learn at school). Looking forward to the next one now but unhappy that there are only 3 left in the sub-series to go. If you like this try: “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett

  10. 5 out of 5

    YouKneeK

    The Fifth Elephant is the fifth book in the Watch subseries of Discworld. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, my enjoyment of the Watch books has grown as the series has progressed. With this book however, I wasn’t as entertained by it as I had been by the last couple. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me, since I was traveling on business this week and I was surprisingly tired even though it wasn’t a particularly strenuous trip. There were also a lot of distractions during the bul The Fifth Elephant is the fifth book in the Watch subseries of Discworld. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, my enjoyment of the Watch books has grown as the series has progressed. With this book however, I wasn’t as entertained by it as I had been by the last couple. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me, since I was traveling on business this week and I was surprisingly tired even though it wasn’t a particularly strenuous trip. There were also a lot of distractions during the bulk of the time I spent reading it. As with the last couple of Watch books, this is one of the more plot-driven Discworld books. Vimes is sent on a “diplomatic” mission to Uberwald to attend a coronation but he ends up with a mystery to solve. The plot was somewhat interesting, but not riveting. The humor was there, but it didn’t often have me laughing out loud. While the other characters all had their parts to play, Vimes had the largest role and maybe that’s part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it as much. I usually think the other characters in this subseries are more entertaining. So, all in all, I found this book to be pretty average. I enjoyed it, but it probably isn’t one of the books I’ll look back on with any particular fondness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)

    Published : 6/11/2008 Author: Terry Pratchett Another amazing book written by an amazing author! In this book we see the characters Nobby Nobbs, the wonderful Sam Vines, Havelock Vetinari , Carrot Ironfoundsson plus many more amazing characters. The setting of this novel is Uberwald. This is book 5 in the City Watch part in the Discworld novels. This is another great book that transports us into the world that he has created, we go on the adventure with the characters, get to know them and enjoy Published : 6/11/2008 Author: Terry Pratchett Another amazing book written by an amazing author! In this book we see the characters Nobby Nobbs, the wonderful Sam Vines, Havelock Vetinari , Carrot Ironfoundsson plus many more amazing characters. The setting of this novel is Uberwald. This is book 5 in the City Watch part in the Discworld novels. This is another great book that transports us into the world that he has created, we go on the adventure with the characters, get to know them and enjoy the adventure with them. Terry Pratchett has a way with words that paints a vivid picture in the readers mind, even though I didn't find this book as funny as the others it is still a brilliant incredible story. I really really enjoyed reading this book. The words that Terry Pratchett uses are so brilliant and powerful that they can make you feel like you are there, make you picture the Discworld like it is actually a real place and that all the people features are real too. It is one of them kind of books that you can sit down and read and not notice that hours have gone by without you moving, eating, sleeping, blinking or doing anything at all! This book really does caught your attention and hooks your mind not letting you go it keeps bringing you back to reading it. This to me is a sign of a really great book! Each of the characters add something brilliant too the novel, they add in the humor and they add depth too the novel making it feel extremely realistic too the reader. It is definately one that can be read many times without it getting bored, and it is also one that I will treasure always and never be able to part with it. I love Terry Pratchett books and I particularly love this book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    2010 October 3 I'd have given him five stars for the riff on The Cherry Orchard alone. Vampires, werewolves, politics, fat mining. Pratchett manages to write a really fun book that is also a mystery as well as a keen satire on emigrants and the old country. Personal copy 2014 September 23 2018 February

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    “Well, he thought, so this is diplomacy. It's lying, only for a better class of people.” "It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren’t the people the people who made up the phrase 'people are people everywhere' had traditionally thought of as people." I keep going back and forth over whether this should get the fifth star, and that back and forth is what's keeping it at four (for now), but this is my favorite of these books since Hogfather. I ver “Well, he thought, so this is diplomacy. It's lying, only for a better class of people.” "It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren’t the people the people who made up the phrase 'people are people everywhere' had traditionally thought of as people." I keep going back and forth over whether this should get the fifth star, and that back and forth is what's keeping it at four (for now), but this is my favorite of these books since Hogfather. I very well may change my mind at any time and increase the rating. It didn't *quite* have the emotional oomph I like from these books in order to get the fifth star, but it was so much fun, and there was a little oomph, so . . . ugh, whatever. This book is great. Goodreads, give us half stars. We are going back to Uberwald in The Fifth Elephant, and this time Captain Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going with us. Except he's not going as Captain, he's going as the Duke of Ankh-Morpork, a title he does his best to forget he owns. The dwarfs are crowning a new Low King, and the rest of the Disc has cottoned on to the potential wealth of resources that might be obtained by befriending the monstrous and strange creatures that live there, which as well as dwarfs, also includes werewolves and vampires. They live in relative peace with one another, but Uberwald is a very different place than Ankh-Morpork, so Vimes is sent with his wife Lady Sybil, and three natives of Uberwald from the Watch: Angua (werewolf), Cheery Littlebottom (dwarf), and Detritus (troll). Things of course start to go wrong immediately, and Vimes is the perfect POV on it all. His mix of practical cleverness, stubbornness, and cultural in/sensitivity make for an extremely entertaining read. The dwarfs' Scone of Stone, which they need for the coronation (a play on the historical Stone of Scone) has been stolen, as well as the replica housed in the dwarf Museum of Bread in Ankh-Morpork, and Vimes is determined to solve both crimes, whether or not his help is wanted (it's not; sort of). My favorite parts of this were all to do with Vimes interacting with dwarf society, back home or in Uberwald. Pratchett uses the dwarfs (and to a lesser extent the other two races) to comment on lots of real life issues, like immigration, and old country vs. new country, which all leads to lots of (humorous) meditation on when to hold to tradition, and when to evolve. Vimes is always a good lens for this, because he *wants* to understand, and he mostly succeeds, but there's always a level of permanent befuddlement there that leads to a lot of really good one-liners. As he himself would be the first person to point out, he's a small-picture kind of guy. I've been working through these book since I was eighteen, and I kind of sort of thought I'd never run out, because there are SO MANY of them. But I think I've finally reached the point where my brain realizes there is an end point to Discworld. I only have seventeen more left. Maybe I should slow my pace from three a year to one or two. On the other hand, there's always re-reading. [4.5 stars]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Κωνσταντίνος Κέλλης

    May 2018: “This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.” Just like the Dwarf King's Axe, this is still the same book read by the same per May 2018: “This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.” Just like the Dwarf King's Axe, this is still the same book read by the same person, only, as the years go by, the person changes with every subsequent reading and appreciates the author's genius even more. 4.5 stars... till next time. February 2016: Wolves never look back. Read the book again, after many years. I had it pegged down as 3 stars (always compared to the rest of his work) but now I'm giving it 4 stars. The book didn't get better, but I think I did.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bloodorange

    The think I love about the City Watch books is that they make me feel that everything is possible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I want to embark on an chronological Discworld in memoriam reread, but for now I started by revisiting The Fifth Elephant for Reasons. Gosh, I love this book: diplomacy and spycraft set in an old Germanic continent, in which the Gothic runs rife, the forests are deep and dark and dangerous, and there are supernatural beasties around every corner. (The races to get home before sunset being a fun Uberwaldean hobby is just the cutest.) What struck me the most about rereading this book is that while I want to embark on an chronological Discworld in memoriam reread, but for now I started by revisiting The Fifth Elephant for Reasons. Gosh, I love this book: diplomacy and spycraft set in an old Germanic continent, in which the Gothic runs rife, the forests are deep and dark and dangerous, and there are supernatural beasties around every corner. (The races to get home before sunset being a fun Uberwaldean hobby is just the cutest.) What struck me the most about rereading this book is that while it delivers a super fun and enjoyable plot with memorable characters, a really vivid setting, and a perfect lampooning of Gothic/horror stereotypes, Terry Pratchett's values are also interwoven throughout. The story involves sexism and feminism and SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY, open-mindedness and acceptance, mixed-race and adoptive and expatriate cultural issues, slow social change and moving with the times, the advancement of technology and its effects, the dangers of conservatism & racism, definite overtones of Nazism and their quest for racial purity -- meanwhile featuring good, solid people with good values who fight for each other and who stand up for what's right, even down to the very small stories, like being a Good Dog. I love the big political backdrop as much as I love the relationship struggles between Carrot and Angua, the hints of Vetinari and Margolotta (I SHIP IT LIKE BURNING), Vimes and Sybil and their adorable domesticity and his growth, all set against a locked-room mystery. Everyone is moving with the times, dragged kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat, from teetotaller vampires to rebellious Igors with Modern Scientific Ideas, to dwarf feminists, to the clacks towers blazing a trail across the continent and shrinking the world. This book is about setting aside old and dangerous conservatism while still staying true to your cultural roots and traditions -- to the thing, and the whole of the thing. Plus, Uberwald is one of my favourite settings anywhere, and I'm super into werewolves so the fact that they're the main villains of the piece delights me. I'm so into the von Uberwalds, you guys, they are so freakin' great. I think this book is one of my favourites of the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    apple

    Please allow me one quick soul-searching moment. Before I was introduced to the awesomeness of Discworld…I was just an empty shell of a fan I haven’t picked up Discworld book for quite some time (last one I read was Jingo) so reading the Fifth Elephant kind of gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling of falling in love with Sir Terry Pratchett’s work all over again. I think this book is the most action-packed volume in City Watch series yet. Imagine Bruce Willis all decked out in tights with British ac Please allow me one quick soul-searching moment. Before I was introduced to the awesomeness of Discworld…I was just an empty shell of a fan I haven’t picked up Discworld book for quite some time (last one I read was Jingo) so reading the Fifth Elephant kind of gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling of falling in love with Sir Terry Pratchett’s work all over again. I think this book is the most action-packed volume in City Watch series yet. Imagine Bruce Willis all decked out in tights with British accent and Ankh-Morpork sense of humor (and um, not so coiffuredly-challenged) and there you got Commander Vimes in all his glory. I must have cracked a few ribs laughing. There’s the motley crew of the Watch and a few new characters. The Igors really steal the show! (or sthill the thow, to be surgically precise) Also, Detritus and his Piecemaker is not the troll to be trifled with. I won’t go on about Nobby because then I wouldn’t be able to stop. The “hot pursuit” scene in the last chapter is hands down the coolest chase in police procedural history. John McClane himself can’t top that! Yippee ki yay little doggy;)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Complete Discworld Reread And just like that the series starts to change. Opens up, shows signs that Discworld is not just a series of random places where things happen but is instead a living, breathing world. People interact, and not just for war. ‘Foreign places’ are not just places to visit and fix; they are places where people live and cultures thrive. The signs that Pratchett’s series is going to start exploring the effects of some major technological changes are present but not yet runnin Complete Discworld Reread And just like that the series starts to change. Opens up, shows signs that Discworld is not just a series of random places where things happen but is instead a living, breathing world. People interact, and not just for war. ‘Foreign places’ are not just places to visit and fix; they are places where people live and cultures thrive. The signs that Pratchett’s series is going to start exploring the effects of some major technological changes are present but not yet running in full. Perhaps The Fifth Elephant was just the author’s way of easing into where the series goes from here. For better or worse I think this book represents a turning point, an attempt to avoid becoming stale. And while it isn’t the best book of the series, or the best watch book, or really all the memorable on its own for story alone; while it is none of these things it does seem to represent an important point in the Discworld journey. Ah but perhaps I get ahead of myself. After all I am not supposed to know all this yet; I am reading these in order, ain’t I? No peaking ahead, even though I know that the next Vimes’ book is considered by many to be the best of the series. I can’t look at the clacks and know that technology is about to make this big, big world a lot smaller for all involved. All I know is Vimes is off for another adventure, and I have to look at the book solely on those merits. Or not, I haven’t decided yet. Does anyone know the name of the city with the largest dwarf population? Thinking of that town in Uberwald? Everyone starts off saying that, but in reality the answer is Anhk-Morpork, a town we are all familiar with by now. But a dwarf will always find their heart back in the mine no matter where they live. Because of this the ascension of a new king back home (home being where the heart is, not where the dwarf is) can get quite political. Who better to take care of the political front than the Duke Samuel Vimes? Along with a delegation designed to piss off everyone by including everyone Vimes stumbles his way through diplomatic meetings, bull headedly takes charge of things he has no actual control over, and tries to find the connection between a couple of murders in his city and the politics of Dwarven royalty. While he is gone a field promotion takes Sargent Colon well past anything covered in the Peter Principle and moves the city into a strange tranquility as the various crime organizations stay well away until things implodes on itself. Highlights are many. Colon’s strange thought process that starts to relate everything to stolen lumps of sugar is both funny and telling. Gaspode has thrived as a minor character who brings out personality in those around him; not bad for a talking dog. In this case he proves to be the only one who can pull the wool over Carrot’s eyes in this series—though only in the minor, non-important issues. And Lady Sybil shows up in this one; when she points out the cultural significance of something through a Dwarven opera I wanted to shout hooray! This, despite not really knowing what she was singing about at all and only seeing the results. This doesn’t rate as a favorite of mine but it isn’t weak; just a bit stale. It actually holds a bit better as I have been reading them in order than it did in the random order I read the books in the past. Because despite yet another mystery for Vimes to only kinda solve as events play out around him I can see where the world is going. From here on out the people of Discworld are going to stop pushing their very human issues under the rug and actual be forced to deal with them. The world is growing connected, technology is taking over, and thousand year fights over who attacked who are no longer going to fly when looked at by the world’s eye. It is not that Pratchett hasn’t dealt with issues before within the Discworld series; but for the first time they seem to be tied to a larger story. If the first half of the series was a set of loosely connected standalones there is a bit more of a meta-story line starting now. So while Granny kicked ass and took names in forcing the male dominated University to accept a female student it was a one off thing; all the students of the university in later books were still male. And while some racial barriers were broken down on the individual level in Jingo (specifically in everyone’s favorite sergeant) the largest racial fight of the series has been left unchallenged. That changes here. A dwarf who wants to be known as female in society that only sees male gains some acceptance. A troll is allowed into the dwarven caverns (well, entry is forced by the great weapon of diplomacy), traditionally the hated enemy. The winds of change is the major theme of the whole tale and is evident everywhere. A powerful vampire gives up blood. Werewolves give up a game played over centuries. Even Vimes is affected. By now the pattern of a Vimes book is almost stale; solve the crime, get another unwanted promotion. Credit Pratchett on the ending here; technically he gains a promotion of a sort at the end(keeping with tradition) but it doesn’t come from his boss. More importantly, and unlike the previous promotions that led to little change in his overall routine, this one will dramatically change the live Vimes is living in a way that sets the series out for what may be the best book in Discworld. Yes I am talking Night Watch; the story within could not be told without the events of The Fifth Elephant. 4 Stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Another City Watch Story 28 November 2016 There was a time that I loved the adventures of Constable Carrot, Captain Vimes, and Nobby Nobbs, but is seems as of late the stories are starting to become really, really dry. Okay, maybe there are other factors, but I really don't seem to be able to get into the Pratchet books any more, to the point that I am starting to find them quite boring. Sure, there are probably people out there that will crucify me because I have spoken blasphemy, but fortunatel Another City Watch Story 28 November 2016 There was a time that I loved the adventures of Constable Carrot, Captain Vimes, and Nobby Nobbs, but is seems as of late the stories are starting to become really, really dry. Okay, maybe there are other factors, but I really don't seem to be able to get into the Pratchet books any more, to the point that I am starting to find them quite boring. Sure, there are probably people out there that will crucify me because I have spoken blasphemy, but fortunately those people are actually few and far between. As it happens a number of people I have spoken to have suggested that by this time, which is actually book number 24, is that the fun, wonder, and humour of the Discworld series is starting to reach its used by date. The thing is that it seems that we only have two sets of protagonists in the stories – The Witches and the City Watch. In fact it seems that at this stage we are alternating between them. Actually, as I was reading this book I suddenly realised that it has actually been quite a while since Rincewind and the Wizards have been a major focus of a story (though I do believe there is one more coming up, but that is basically it). Sure, Rincewind did at first annoy me but the character sort of started to grow on me to the point that the last book that I can remember I quite enjoyed (I believe it was The Last Continent, but the one set in Discworld's version of China was also quite good). However, now we just have the Watch trampsing off somewhere to do what the watch does, and in fact there is only a passing mention of a Fifth Elephant – the title actually doesn't have anything to do with the story itself. What has happened is that Vimes is sent off to the Uberwald, which is a land inhabited by Dwarves, Werewolves, and Vampires, to strike a trade deal with the dwarves for fat (which was deposited there when the fifth elephant that carried the disc crashed into the area – pretty dumb idea I feel) that is buried beneath the land. However, while they are there the Scone of Stone, a mystical artifact that is important for the coronation of the low king of the dwarves as been stolen, and it is up to Vimes, and Constable Carrot, to get to the bottom of the situation. Sure, Pratchet is still parodying aspects of our world, such us what is termed the Theseus Paradox – if an object's component parts are completely replaces is it still the same object. The classic example in my mind involves Captain Cook's Cottage. It is supposed to be the cottage that Captain Cook lived in in England, however was moved stone by stone to Australia. Okay, maybe it is not the 'Theseus Paradox' namely because the original stones and thatch are being moved as opposed to being replaced, however the original cottage was in England but it is now in the middle of a park in Melbourne, so is it the same cottage considering the location is basically on the other side of the world. Well, my position in this case is that it is not the same cottage, but a replica that has been built with the materials that comprised of the original cottage – the original cottage, in my mind, has been destroyed. Anyway, that is beside the point, even though the idea was determining whether the Scone of Stone was the real Scone of Stone (and if you are not sure how to pronounce the word scone, just check out this Goodies Episode, there were other ideas in here as well, such as trade deals, oil (which is supposed to be the fat of the Elephant) and of course the tussles that occur between the dwarves and trolls (though we also have werewolves and vampires as well). The thing with the Uberwald is that it is supposed to be, in one sense, Eastern Europe, which is Europe but somewhat backward compared to Western Europe (though my closest experience of Eastern Europe would be Praque, and Greece, but Greece is technically the Balkans). Anyway, I have to admit that I really don't feel to enthusiastic about writing much more on this book because it really didn't do all that much to inspire me, though I have to admit that it would be good to see them turn more of Pratchet's books into a live action television show in the same vein that they did with Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This is the first Discworld audio that is narrated by Stephen Briggs instead of Nigel Planer. He did a good job, but I am missing the specific voices that Nigel Planer did, so Briggs will take some getting used to. I will have to listen to this audiobook again someday to fully grasp the entire story as I was a bit preoccupied with other things this week. But I always love the characters of the Watch so this couldn't help but be a good book. Although I think my favorite parts in this particular bo This is the first Discworld audio that is narrated by Stephen Briggs instead of Nigel Planer. He did a good job, but I am missing the specific voices that Nigel Planer did, so Briggs will take some getting used to. I will have to listen to this audiobook again someday to fully grasp the entire story as I was a bit preoccupied with other things this week. But I always love the characters of the Watch so this couldn't help but be a good book. Although I think my favorite parts in this particular book were all the Igor bits (pun possibly intended :)

  21. 4 out of 5

    BellaGBear

    This book has one of the scariest scenes I've read in a discworld book so far. I was really afraid a particular character I care about would die. Also in this book Igor and Vimes really have a shining role, so if you like them, this is definetly the book for you. Especially if you also always wanted to know more about vampires, dwarves and werewolves of the Discworld universe. This feels like a very mature discworld book, in the sense that the story is very well-constructed and has some serious This book has one of the scariest scenes I've read in a discworld book so far. I was really afraid a particular character I care about would die. Also in this book Igor and Vimes really have a shining role, so if you like them, this is definetly the book for you. Especially if you also always wanted to know more about vampires, dwarves and werewolves of the Discworld universe. This feels like a very mature discworld book, in the sense that the story is very well-constructed and has some serious themes to it. So, all in all, a good book in the overal Discworld series, one who would also maybe attrack non-discworld lovers because the story in itself is also very good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    Another fantastic installment. It was super great to see the world outside of Ankh Morpork and explore more of Discworld. This one dealt specifically with the immigrant diaspora, belonging, cultural shifts and evolution. It's just super interesting to watch Sam Vines change, he'd made such a huge journey from being a drunk to being a wily politician. The other characters have changed too, but not as much, and sometimes I do wish we would focus on them. I would love to read about Cheery's internal t Another fantastic installment. It was super great to see the world outside of Ankh Morpork and explore more of Discworld. This one dealt specifically with the immigrant diaspora, belonging, cultural shifts and evolution. It's just super interesting to watch Sam Vines change, he'd made such a huge journey from being a drunk to being a wily politician. The other characters have changed too, but not as much, and sometimes I do wish we would focus on them. I would love to read about Cheery's internal turmoil or Angua's pain. But also it's amazing that we can see it from the little we see of it. Gosh, I love this series so much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lars Dradrach

    It difficult not to treat these very last Discworld books as special treats to be savoured (after reading this i have 10 books left and only 3 in the City watch series). and the time felt right for a "terry pratchett moment". The Fifth Elephant is Diplomacy among werewolves, vampires and dwarfes (even dwarf ladies !), it's the City Watch going abroad and most of all its a Classic Discword novel with all the irony and quirky comments.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Campbell

    I feel like of all the Discworld series, The Watch series is the one that manages to touch on the most themes throughout it's course. Here we have immigration, political conservatives versus progressives, diplomacy, family, the importance of symbols, royalty, and probably a couple of other things I didn't pick up on, being too busy laughing at the dry wit of Vimes. Vimes as a character is intensely relatable to just about everyone I know who has read these books, which I find impressive, being th I feel like of all the Discworld series, The Watch series is the one that manages to touch on the most themes throughout it's course. Here we have immigration, political conservatives versus progressives, diplomacy, family, the importance of symbols, royalty, and probably a couple of other things I didn't pick up on, being too busy laughing at the dry wit of Vimes. Vimes as a character is intensely relatable to just about everyone I know who has read these books, which I find impressive, being that I don't know anyone over the age of 26 who has read these novels. Perhaps I'm only friends with cynical bastards, but I do think he's probably Pratchett's most well developed character. The plot is one of the faster of the Discworld novels and is a mystery with a satisfying answer. The mix of Eastern European folklore that is Uberwald makes for an amusing setting, and to be honest, it's refreshing to read a story with proper vampires and werewolves. On a side note because it really isn't a big part of the series, as romance never really features very heavily in Discworld novels, the romance between Angua and Carrot is so natural and heart warming. They're my favorite couple of the Discworld novels.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Book Wyrm

    This is another great Watch Man book. Some of the plot is a bit hazy, but character interactions, culture metaphors and humour are on fierce form. Vimes proves himself to be a pretty hard arsed and unstoppable action hero, with some brilliantly described, tense and occassionally gruesome scenes. If I have a criticism, its the same one I have for most of the Watch books: Angua. Angua is such a crap character, she has the potential to be awesome and powerful or at least interesting, and she's all se This is another great Watch Man book. Some of the plot is a bit hazy, but character interactions, culture metaphors and humour are on fierce form. Vimes proves himself to be a pretty hard arsed and unstoppable action hero, with some brilliantly described, tense and occassionally gruesome scenes. If I have a criticism, its the same one I have for most of the Watch books: Angua. Angua is such a crap character, she has the potential to be awesome and powerful or at least interesting, and she's all set up to play a major role in this book, but in the end she does almost nothing and continues to come across as a whiner. She's not really developed enough to feel morally complex, she just feels unpleasant. This is especially a pity, because there is one very telling and vulnerable line in this book which could explain her stand-offish nature here and in the previous books, but since there was nothing likeable about her in the first place, I can't actually give a shit about her inner turmoil by this point. Too little to late.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andree

    This one was fabulously written. I don't think it's one of my favourites, because of the sort of general Uberwald unpleasantness that resonates throughout it (and the Colon as Captain subplot got tedious fast - the only saving grace was Vetinari reminding both Colon and Nobbs how Vimes would react). But on the other hand, this is really, really well done. Also, it turns out that I had effectively read three of the Watch books, despite thinking that I'd read almost all of them. Because I hadn't re This one was fabulously written. I don't think it's one of my favourites, because of the sort of general Uberwald unpleasantness that resonates throughout it (and the Colon as Captain subplot got tedious fast - the only saving grace was Vetinari reminding both Colon and Nobbs how Vimes would react). But on the other hand, this is really, really well done. Also, it turns out that I had effectively read three of the Watch books, despite thinking that I'd read almost all of them. Because I hadn't read this either. Anyway, the Angua/Carrot dynamic is still a bit problematic, mainly because of Carrot's personality and never-ending niceness. But I really, really liked how it was done in this one, particularly the end. Oh, and Carrot following her to Uberwald in the beginning. I do find Angua infinitely more interesting as a character. Always nice when people have at least a few shades of grey. I really liked the mystery in this. You're pretty much led to think that any number of people are evil/culpable, and one of them turns out not to be. And not the one you'd expect. It was pretty well done. I also really enjoyed Vimes and the dwarf king, Vimes and Cheery as investigative duo, Detritus as cultural attache, Detritus and his winter-level thinking, Detritus just in general (I love Detritus), and all of the Igors. Vimes as diplomat was pretty awesome. Bonus points for Vetinari informing him that he's not sending the Commander of the Watch, he's sending the Duke of Ank-Morpork. I could have done with a few less descriptions of werewolf fights (and shorter fights to begin with, because this one felt a bit long). (view spoiler)[With all the nonsense that abounds, sometimes you forget how dark TP can go. The psychopathic Wolfgang being the darkness in this particular one. (hide spoiler)] And Sibyl. Sibyl was great in this. Strong when it counts, rebellious when it counts, solid and smart, and I love the passage about how she's spent so long trying to make herself small, that others feel big around her. And how she tries to be nice and kind and so people think she's stupid. The moments where she reads Vimes and then duchesses the hell out of the situation, or where she negotiates with the dwarf king and is basically all, "Don't worry about it dear." I love everything about her dynamic with Vimes. Sibyl might be my favourite. If it isn't Vimes himself. BOTH OF THEM. So yes, this is a very, very good TP. Even I don't think it'll become a personal favourite overall. On the other hand, I could see buying it so that I can reread sections... SO.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This time, Sam Vimes plays a diplomat. Lord Vetinari, the ruler of Ankh-Morpork, sends Vimes to Uberwald to represent the city during the coronation of the dwarfs’ new king. Unfortunately, Uberwald is a backward country. Industry is undeveloped, except in the dwarfs’ mines. The werewolves rampage and eat people unchecked. The vampires plot quietly. The dwarves squabble over millennium-long traditions. A powerful dwarven relic has been stolen (shhh, it’s a secret), various factions of dwarves vie This time, Sam Vimes plays a diplomat. Lord Vetinari, the ruler of Ankh-Morpork, sends Vimes to Uberwald to represent the city during the coronation of the dwarfs’ new king. Unfortunately, Uberwald is a backward country. Industry is undeveloped, except in the dwarfs’ mines. The werewolves rampage and eat people unchecked. The vampires plot quietly. The dwarves squabble over millennium-long traditions. A powerful dwarven relic has been stolen (shhh, it’s a secret), various factions of dwarves vie for supremacy, and the coronation is in jeopardy. A war looms. Nobody in Uberwald wants the Ankh-Morpork policeman Sam Vimes to stick his nose into foreign matters. Or maybe some do… Maybe they want him to solve their problems for them but they lie about it because they all play diplomats. It takes Vimes a while to catch up and start a diplomatic (lying) game of his own. Many of our favorite Ankh-Morpork policemen appear in this book. Angua, the only werewolf in the city police force, travels to Uberwald too, but in secret. She must untangle her family affairs. Carrot follows Angua because – well, you know. At least the readers who enjoy this series do. Fred Colon stays behind and becomes an acting captain of the Watch. What the poisonous power of command does to his disposition only Terry Pratchett can tell you. And then there is a taking dog, and the three sisters, and the late Uncle Vanya, and an infestation of Igors. I really, really like those Igor guys, even though they speak with a very thick accent. This is the first book of the series (at least among the ones I’ve read) where Igors are finally described in all their morbid glory. I won’t pretend it’s my favorite among the City Watch series, but the story grabs you from the first page. It makes you think. It makes you laugh. It makes you wince at the author’s sarcastic observations. It makes you want to hide from the analogies between Discworld and us. It makes you keep reading until the last page. It makes you hanker for more. Note 1: The author’s opinion of diplomats coincides with my own: their job description includes the ability to lie very convincingly, without blushing. Note 2: There are no elephants in the story, but there are elephants in the Discworld’s mythology. One of those mythological pachyderms slammed into Discworld at the beginning of time and finally surfaced in this novel. Like some lies, he is huge, non-existent, but very tangible.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    With Ankh-Morpork’s trade with Uberwald in possible danger Lord Ventari sends his most reliable diplomat and expert in political intrigue, Sam Vimes. The Commander of Ankh-Morpork’s Watch finds himself in a potential international incident with interspecies disputes and conspiracies mixed in with the fabulous riches of The Fifth Elephant mines in this installment of Terry Pratchett’s fantastic Discworld series. Uberwald is a mineral rich principality governed over by dwarfs, werewolves, and vampi With Ankh-Morpork’s trade with Uberwald in possible danger Lord Ventari sends his most reliable diplomat and expert in political intrigue, Sam Vimes. The Commander of Ankh-Morpork’s Watch finds himself in a potential international incident with interspecies disputes and conspiracies mixed in with the fabulous riches of The Fifth Elephant mines in this installment of Terry Pratchett’s fantastic Discworld series. Uberwald is a mineral rich principality governed over by dwarfs, werewolves, and vampires in an uneasy peace with one another and amongst their own species then add to this mix Sam Vimes as ambassador from Ankh-Morpork to coronation of the new dwarf king. Vimes’ diplomatic style and his natural detective instincts strain international, as well as interspecies, relations as the copper investigates a robbery and murder in Ankh-Morpork connected to events in Uberwald. But as Vimes works out a conspiracy in Uberwald he’s faces Angua’s own family, the reigning werewolf barony and they aren’t particularly a close family. And as events unfold, Colon and Nobby are left in charge of the Watch in Ankh-Morpork resulting in crime disappearing from the city as every criminal fears what will happen once Vimes returns to the mess. Unlike the majority of his previous installments, Pratchett built this book around a plot and threw in some gags that never got tired out because they weren’t the focus. For the first time, a Discworld book seemed more in the fantasy genre—leaning a lot towards adventure—than the humor genre. This change of approach was both a surprise and a welcome to a series now on its 24th book, especially as it was a part of the Watch subseries which benefited with a more structured approach to the book. The Fifth Elephant was fun to read and a book I’m looking forward to rereading in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    Interestingly this City Watch book is keen to paint Ankh-Morpork as representing the big city inclusive ideals of say London, or New York, or perhaps a condensed version of "The American Dream," a place where anyone from anywhere, any race, creed, colour, or education can go and be accepted and make a success of themselves if they just work hard enough. Whilst at the same time it is the closed minded outsiders who wish to build walls, remain in the ultra conservative dark ages and keep all races Interestingly this City Watch book is keen to paint Ankh-Morpork as representing the big city inclusive ideals of say London, or New York, or perhaps a condensed version of "The American Dream," a place where anyone from anywhere, any race, creed, colour, or education can go and be accepted and make a success of themselves if they just work hard enough. Whilst at the same time it is the closed minded outsiders who wish to build walls, remain in the ultra conservative dark ages and keep all races completely separate from each other. A quite superb entry from Pratchett's middle period, full of sharp observations, biting wit, stupid puns, excellent characterisation and development and a fantastic crime/espionage plot for our hero Sam Vimes to piece together. As we approach what may well be the end of civilisation with devastating weapons being left in the hands of a greedy, self aggrandising, profiteering simpleton I can safely say that Sir Terry is better off out of it, but the world needs many, many more people with his outlook on life, and perhaps even that of Sam Vimes too, if as a species we're to stand any chance of surviving.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Μιτς Γιωτίξ

    Not your usual City Watch novel, and Feet of Clay and Men at Arms were a little bit more enjoyable plot-wise, but it still was fun to read; especially when giving you backgrounds for Angua and Uberwald. PS Sam Vimes is still the best cop in fiction.

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