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Night Watch: (Discworld Novel 29) (Discworld Novels) Hardcover – 4 Nov 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (4 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385602642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385602648
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The new Discworld novel Night Watch has the power and energy that characterizes Terry Pratchett at his occasional best, as well as the wild surreal humour he always gives us. Sam Vimes, running hero of the Guards sequence, finds himself cast back in time to the Ankh-Morpork of his youth--a much nastier city, with an actively deranged Patrician and a sadistic secret police--and finding himself filling in for Keel, the tough honest copper who teaches the young Vimes everything he knows. And, more worryingly, who dies heroically in the insurrection Vimes knows to be imminent. With a psychopath from his own time rising in the vile ranks of the Cable Street Unmentionables complicating things, Vimes has to ensure that history takes its course so that he will have the right future to go back to, and to keep his younger self alive--this is Pratchett's plotting at its most thoroughly constructed and wonderfully devious. Ankh-Morpork has for a long time been one of the most thoroughly imagined cities in fantasy--here Pratchett gives us a fascinating gloomy glimpse of its past and of the younger selves of some of his best-loved characters, and of the brief-lived People's Republic of Treacle-Mine Road. --Roz Kaveney

Review

'His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction.' -- Mail on Sunday

'Like Jonathan Swift ... he is a satirist of enormous talent ... incredibly funny ... compulsively readable.' -- The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nigel on 11 Nov 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent! It is a LOT darker than previous discworld books, although the guards series have been heading this way. It isn't a fantasy book (although I don't think the discworld series has been for a while). Vimes is sent back in time, to a Ankh Morpork which doesn't have dwarves, trolls etc, and so it is a story with Vimes very definitely the central character - there aren't humorous equal-opportunity side shows. As Ankh Morpork slides towards civil war Pratchett revisits some of the themes investigated in Jingo (how to steer a decent path through mobs, political manipulation, military incompetence), but unpicks the themes more thoroughly and effectively.
You need to read the other Guards books before reading this to get the best out of it - it's not a book to introduce you to the discworld. Reading Thief of Time would also help but is by no means essential. Don't expect a bundle of laughs, but do expect to get drawn in to a (on the whole) tightly written and gripping story.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on 27 Oct 2003
Format: Hardcover
Night Watch, the 27th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, is a wonderful character study of Samuel Vimes, the head of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork. In this one, Pratchett turns kind of serious, though there are some amusing bits. Unlike Small Gods, it appears to work in this one. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it before. Or maybe Vimes is such an interesting character that I was willing to forgive. Whichever way it is, Night Watch is yet another masterpiece from Pratchett.
Carcer is one of Pratchett's best villains, I believe, because he's "normal." Yes, he's insane, but he could very well live in the world we live in, unlike some of Pratchett's other bad guys. Not to say that they weren't good as well, but Carcer adds that extra bit of chill. He's a survivor, able to adapt to many different situations. It takes some time for Vimes to adapt himself to what he has to do once he discovers what has happened. Even when the Monks of History (the main source of any humour in this book) tell him what he must do, he is still reluctant. Carcer, on the other hand, jumps in with both feet, ingratiating himself with the higher-ups, and starts establishing himself. Once he realizes what the situation is with Vimes (and the younger Vimes) it gets even chillier. He's very effective, and the reader is often left wondering just how Vimes can beat him.
This book, however, is Sam Vimes' book. I've always found Vimes to be a fascinating character, throughout all of the City Watch books, and this book just builds on those. Every City Watch book is really about the development of Vimes, and Night Watch takes it to the next level, with an in depth character study, where you get under his skin and find out what makes him tick.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Jan 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is probably a book best read after some of the other 'Watch' novels in the Discworld series - 'Guards, Guards!', 'Men at Arms', 'Feet of Clay', 'Jingo', 'The Fifth Elephant' (I think that's all of them!). It's a Vimes novel through and through, and it would help to have some previous knowledge of Sam Vimes's character beforehand.
I happen to be a great Vimes fan, and I enjoyed it immensely. This is a clever novel that is surprisingly serious for a Discworld book, and yet still retains Pratchett's innate wry humour which prevents it from becoming taxing or sentimental. It follows Sam Vimes (Or His Grace Commander Sir Samuel Vimes the Duke of Ankh) as, by a freak accident, he and a murderer he is pursuing are thrown back in time to an old and dystopian Ankh-Morpork. The adventure that follows is a gripping page turner, full of insights into the nature of evil and the nature of authority. It also features a living Reg Shoe, a young Havelock Vetinari (wonderful!), a child Nobby Nobbs, the novice Dibbler, a younger Sam Vimes, truth, justice, freedom, and a hard-boiled egg.
Our own Sam finds himself a sergeant again, mentoring his younger self and taking a lead role in the rebellion against the paranoid patrician of the time. Pratchett's gentle satire pokes fun at the idealistic rebels who are so sure they can fix everything, but also makes some very pertinent commentary about the role and the power of the police during riots and rebellions.
As usual, Pratchett's characters are cast vividly. Reg Shoe actually reminds me very much of a girl I know in the Socialist Workers' Student Society. Doctor Lawn (who is a doctor to ladies of negiotable affection!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Williams on 1 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that "Night Watch" is Pratchett's best Discworld book yet.
Why? Because the characters in the book have been so long-established in the Discworld universe that it is uniquely revealing to see their younger selves in the era in which Sam Vimes began his career. This is a bit of a quandry, because in order for this book to be so good, it needs the reader to have gained an understanding of these characters by first reading the other City Watch books in the series.
"Night Watch" is, as noted by other reviewers, also darker in many ways than the other books of the series. There is sadness here, and grief, and heroism, and horror. This mix of humour and darket tones works extremely well, especially as the sadness is interwoven seamlessly into the overall plot and character development.
In all, it makes a refreshing departure from the other (still excellent) tales of the Discworld.
I'd be very happy to read more books of this hue from Terry Pratchett. It is especially welcome bearing in mind that the Discworld series is now approaching thirty books and shows no sign of becoming repetitive, stale or reduced in humourous content, or slowing down for that matter. A tribute to Mr. Pratchett's seemingly bottomless well of talent, I'm sure.
Encore, please!
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