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Men At Arms: (Discworld Novel 15) (Discworld Novels) [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2005 Discworld Novels (Book 15)

'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.'

Fate is a word that springs to the lips when to call something coincidence seems mealy mouthed. Destiny is another such. But the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger. One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world...


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Men At Arms: (Discworld Novel 15) (Discworld Novels) + Lords And Ladies: (Discworld Novel 14) (Discworld Novels) + Soul Music: (Discworld Novel 16) (Discworld Novels)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552153168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552153164
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Another wild romp through Discworld! Corporal Carrot, a young dwarf, is newly in charge of the recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork. Edward, the 37th Lord d'Eath, has just discovered that Ankh-Morpork, kingless for generations, has a sovereign ruler, who must be convinced that he is, in fact, the King. The fate of Ankh-Morpork rides on a young man's courage, an ancient sword's magic and a three-legged poodle's bladder. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'Funny, wise and mock heroic... The funniest and best crafted book I have read all year' - Sunday Express. 'Like Jonathan Swift, Pratchett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent... incredibly funny... compulsively readable' - The Times. 'His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction' - Mail on Sunday. 'The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences' - A.S. Byatt, New York Times"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
"Men at Arms" is the fifteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and the second to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard. Although its reputation may have raised very slightly, having rescused the City from a large and angry dragon, it's still not the fine and noble profession it once was.

Sam is the Captain of the Night Watch, though he is on the verge of retiring and will soon marry Lady Ramkin, the noted dragon-fancier. It isn't entirely clear, however, whether or not he's entirely happy about either the retirement or his impending life of marital bliss. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he hates the Undead (some of my best friends are werewolves), Assassins (a perfectly respectable profession) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). Sam's also trying to quit drinking and has taken up smoking cigars to soften the blow.

The Night Watch has had a couple of new recruits since "Guards! Guards!" - largely at the insistence if the Patrician, the city's ruler. The recruits - Lance-Constables Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) and Angua (a woman, for most of the month) - have been selected to reflect Ankh-Morpork's `ethnic makeup'. Although Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs are Sam's most experienced officers, the most capable is Carrot. Although born human, Carrot was raised as a dwarf and is an incredibly innocent character - he still hasn't figured out what seamstresses do for a living. He has, however, figured out how Ankh-Morpork works and has stopped trying to arrest the President of the Thieves Guild. The trouble begins when Edward d'Eath suspects that Carrot may be the rightful king of Ankh-Morpork.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal isn't the same as important 11 Aug 2005
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Men at Arms reunites us with the stalwart defenders of our beloved Ankh-Morpork: the Night Watch. Along the way we also meet up with some of the Discworld's most distinctive secondary characters (including Foul Ole Ron and Big Fido), get a glimpse of affirmative action Ankh-Morpork-style, discover the identity of the rightful king (if Ankh-Morpork still had a king, which it doesn't, which isn't the fault of the shady characters in this book trying to replace the Patrician with the aforementioned heir to the throne, who doesn't want the job anyway), converse once more with Gaspode the talking dog, and - if that's not enough - make ready for the wedding of the year between Captain Samuel Vimes of the Night Watch and Lady Sybil Ramkin, proprietor of the Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons and the richest woman in Ankh-Morpork. Captain Vimes is in fact retiring from the Watch, but his retirement involves much more than the traditional gift watch presentation from his men. A washed-up aristocrat named Edward D'eath takes it upon himself to restore the long-lost monarchy, a circumstance that can only come about over the Patrician's dead body. Even clowns aren't safe from this deadly conspiracy.
The trouble begins with an explosion and robbery at the Guild of Assassins. Someone has stolen nothing less than the only "gonne" on Discworld, and a series of murders shock the town. OK, nothing's really going to shock the people of Ankh-Morpork, but the fact that people keep turning up full of holes where guts should be definitely stirs up the Watchmen. The Patrician is also less than happy about things, so he makes sure the Watch gets to the bottom of things by forbidding Captain Vimes to investigate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett at his best 9 Nov 2009
By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Captain Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is retiring and getting married in a few days. But an explosion at the Assassins' Guild attracts his interest, and soon a trail of bodies is forming. The Guilds don't want his help, the Patrician has ordered him to lay off and his fellow Watch members seem more concerned about the new intake of ethnic minorities (Lance-Corporal Cuddy of the dwarfs and Lance-Corporal Detritus of the trolls) than the mystery. But somewhere in Ankh-Morpork a killer is on the loose with a very powerful new weapon...

Men at Arms is the second Discworld novel to focus on the City Watch, introduced in the classic Guards! Guards! As told in that volume, the City Watch saved the city from a marauding dragon and at the end of the book the Watch gained fresh resources from a grateful city government. However, it is still regarded as a joke, as Men at Arms makes clear.

Pratchett once again uses the cliches and ideas of police procedurals to generate humour and satire, although this volume is much more of a hard-bitten (in some cases, literally) mystery novel. Sam Vimes is portrayed as the cynical, weathered old cop doggedly pursuing his case in the face of all opposition, whilst Corporal Carrot is his enthusiastic young sidekick. Of course, that would be a bit too cheesy, so Pratchett subverts this idea earlier on and takes the story in a more interesting and original direction.

The city of Ankh-Morpork comes to life in this book more successfully than in any prior volume, to the extent that Pratchett's playwright and friend Stephen Briggs was able to use information in this book (and the prior ones) to map the city so everything tracked and made sense (the results can be found in the spin-off product, The Streets of Ankh-Morpork).
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