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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
Once an author is turning out a novel a year in a growing series he can be forgiven for getting rather stale. That isn't really a problem with Terry Pratchett: his output can be a bit uneven but overall the Discworld fantasies just seem to be getting better, and "The Fifth Elephant" is one of the best.
The wonderful Sam Vimes - clever, upwardly mobile but basically...
Published on 11 Jan 2008 by Iain S. Palin

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plummetting Pachiderms
As we all know the Discworld is carried on the backs of four elephants that in turn stand upon the carapace of the giant galactic star turtle, the Great A'tuin. However, some time in the past there was another elephant. One that, for some reason still to be determined, plummetted to the surface of the discworld and whose fat deposits have become a lucrative dwarf mine...
Published on 24 Jan 2012 by Zanna T. Laws


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 11 Jan 2008
By 
Iain S. Palin (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Once an author is turning out a novel a year in a growing series he can be forgiven for getting rather stale. That isn't really a problem with Terry Pratchett: his output can be a bit uneven but overall the Discworld fantasies just seem to be getting better, and "The Fifth Elephant" is one of the best.
The wonderful Sam Vimes - clever, upwardly mobile but basically honest and down-to-earth chief of police of Ankh-Morpork - is sent with his aristocratic wife on a diplomatic mission to troubled realm of Uberwald. Why did the city's ruler Lord Vetinari, a man who could give Machiavelli lessons in deviousness, chose Vimes of all people for this delicate task? What exactly is going on in Uberwald, where the uneasy balance of power between dwarves, werewolves, and vampires seems to be breaking down? All is revealed in a book that is both dark and humorous, engrossing and highly entertaining.
Many of the usual characters we have come to know from the Discworld novels are here, and trying to make the best of an unfamiliar and threatening place and understand the peoples and their politics.
Once again Pratchett is the master not only of plot and character but also of the little aside, the fascinating but not overdone individual, the sly and amusing reference. We learn, for instance, that it is a social blunder to use the word "bath" to an upper-class werewolf when he is in human form, it makes him uncomfortable. We are introduced to a vampire equivalent of AA where members help each other keep off the human blood and get through "vun night at a time". We discover that the Low King of the Dwarves must be crowned sitting on a large, hard item called the great Scone of Stone - a clever one this, referring not only to the durability and lethal solidity of dwarfish bread as explained in previous novels but also to the Stone of Scone (pronounced "Skoon") on which for centuries the kings of Scotland were crowned. And much more...
If you know the characters you will enjoy the book even more, but Pratchett newbies could find a worse place to start than this one.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A copper that isn't an ore, 15 Jan 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Role models are a major topic these days. Who are the good ones, and who the bad? Once we had monarchs, presidents, explorers, all good and/or bad with some migration from the first to the second. In Sam Vimes, we may have a unique example of the reverse.
When we first met Sam Vimes in GUARDS! GUARDS!, he was sodden in a gutter, soddin' drunk. Hardly an auspicious beginning for a heroic figure. Discworld heroes are often found in unusual circumstances, rarely admirable at first sight. Sam's a copper, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's Night Watch. It's a job to send any man's hand groping for support, even if the brace is in the form of a bottle. Now he's on his way to Uberwald. Trolls, Dwarves and Werewolves have all emigrated from this region, taking up residence in Sam's city. He hasn't shed his resentment at this intrusion, nor his suspicion of these bizarre life forms. His earlier cultural challenges came from the likes of Klatchians, who were at least human. The Patrician has made him a diplomat, a real challenge for a man with so little tact. He must deal with all these creatures he resents. Failure to deal successfully may result in his becoming part of the local cuisine.
Sam has an advantage over many of us. Strongly self-aware, he manages to control his temper and intemperance. He's pulled himself out of the gutter. Now the Duke of Ankh- Morpork, he's married into the city's aristocracy. His diplomatic skills are going to be put to severe tests. To ease the pressure, Sam is accompanied by his recently acquired spouse, Sybil Ramkin. Her presence with him on this venture is an indication of his newly elevated status, and recognition of her well established one. Ironically, Sam is also supported by some of his mates from the Watch, Detritus the Troll and forensic expert Cheery Littlebottom, a Dwarf. Both are originally from the Uberwald. Sam's diplomatic assignment is a commercial treaty and attendance of the Coronation of the Low King. Regrettably, not all Uberwald is happy with the new monarch, and Sam is drawn into a miasma of plots and counter plots no diplomat should enter.
Sam Vimes is anything but a hero of the ideal romantic stamp. His blemishes are apparent, but, to his credit, he recognizes them and deals with them. His temper, which he controls with effort, leads him into difficult situations. His prejudices blind him to unexpected values in people [and, in this case, a scruffy dog], but when he finally recognizes the truth, he acknowledges it. Maybe with glum grace, but without rancor. Pratchett has drawn him as a strikingly real figure. He's unique on the Discworld. And that's sad in one sense because both the Discworld and our world could do with more like him.
Pratchett's plots have never been overly convoluted or difficult to unravel. His wit more than makes up for that. His characters are immensely significant in these stories. Those of us who've followed Sam along the cobblestoned streets of his life will rejoice at this portrayal. They will also encounter an Angua with enhanced reality. And Sam and Sybil are . . .
[stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plummetting Pachiderms, 24 Jan 2012
By 
Zanna T. Laws "ZTL" (Tasmania) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As we all know the Discworld is carried on the backs of four elephants that in turn stand upon the carapace of the giant galactic star turtle, the Great A'tuin. However, some time in the past there was another elephant. One that, for some reason still to be determined, plummetted to the surface of the discworld and whose fat deposits have become a lucrative dwarf mine. Things are afoot and Sam Vimes is on the case.

A good read and a good title pun. Adventure, humour, crime, deep insights and a wonderfully skewed perspective on the human condition as usual. Terry Pratchett can do no wrong in my eyes, although I do have to confess this story is not my most favourite.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 5 Jan 2004
This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
Once again Terry Pratchett has turned out another classic. I have read every one of his books and this is without doubt the best, as usual parodying society by holding up his mirror world Pratchett has combined who-dunnit, satire, surrealism and parody into one storyline impossible to put down. Many people say it was impossible to put a book down, but I found myself eight hours after picking this book up having not moved untill the last line. Need I say more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dwarfs, wolves and werewolves, the Watch and some Igors..., 4 Feb 2001
By A Customer
The Fifth Elephant is the 24th Discworld novel.
In Ankh-Morpork, the Scone of Stone, the Dwarfs' sacred relic, has been stolen, and the director of the rubber factory has just been murdered.
As Sam Vimes is sent on a diplomatic mission to Uberwald for the coronation of the new King of the Dwarfs, and Captain Carrot has gone in search of missing Angua, Lord Vetinari reluctanctly promotes Fred Colon as Captain of the Watch...
Although presented as a novel of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, the action is principally centered on Sam Vimes and his struggle with the not-so-nice werewolves of Uberwald.
With its numerous winks to our own world, as well as the guest appearence of dear characters such as DEATH or Gaspode the Wonder Dog, the Fifth Elephant turns out as funny as I expected a Pratchett novel to be. Definitely a very good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Watch Master piece, 13 Sep 2010
By 
T. Nicholson (UK) - See all my reviews
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When reading Discworld novels, it is always best to read each one in the correct sequence for the story group. The Fifth Elephant is the fifth book in the Watch story group and I would not recommend reading it until you have finished the preceding four (Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay and Jingo). This novel does stand up in it's own right. However, a lot of the more subtle points will make little sense without having detailed knowledge of the main protagonists. This knowledge can only be gained through the previous four novels.

Like all of the Discworld books, The Fifth Elephant is very difficult to put down and neigh on impossible to read without at least a couple of sniggers.

Worth every one of the 5 stars and every penny of the cover price, this is a must!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifth elephant, 2 Jun 2010
By 
Another classic by Pratchett. Absolutely compulsory reading which displays another facet to the personalities of the Night Watch. Well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions, 18 Sep 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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More sublime wit from the pen of Terry Pratchett - starring my favourite Pratchett character, Sam Vimes, who is sent by Ankh Morpork's benevolent Tyrant, Vetinari, as diplomat to the Uberworld whose chief inhabitants are Vampires, Werewolves and above all Dwarves. The Low King is about to be crowned but someone has stolen the Scone of Stone, without which the coronation cannot take place. The star is Vimes, but a big part is also played by Angua, the Watch's only werewolf member, not least because the chief villain is her rather nasty brother Wolfgang - not at all the sort of werewolf you'd want to meet on a dark night without whatever it is that wards off werewolves (is there anything?). Further character-development is given to the ineffably good and love-lorne Captain Carrot, brought up as a Dwarf, even though he's around six feet and still counting and somehow or other connected to the defunct throne of Ankh Morpork - not that he would ever wish to claim it.

The wit flashes effervescently throughout - one of its best features is the extended metaphor: "He sagged to his knees. He ached all over. It wasn't just that his brain was writing cheques that his body couldn't cash. It had gone beyond that. Now his feet were borrowing money that his legs hadn't got, and his back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions."

This novel is funny, adroit, oddly prescient with its dwarf priests as rabidly anti-progress as a wagonful of Taliban militia, and a sheer pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the fifth elephant, 13 May 2009
By 
Mr. L. Hall - See all my reviews
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One I must have missed.It had all I expected of a discworld novel , a clever story and humour in abundance.On display as usual is Prachett's perceptive view of the human race with all it's foibles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another one!, 14 May 2001
By A Customer
My favourite set of Pratchett books are the city guard ones. Captain Carrot is hilarious. Nobbs and Colon as traffic police... ingenious as well as organising things so that Colon ends up where he has never wanted to be!! You always feel for Vimes. The Patrician is my favourite though. I never tire of this, feet of clay, guards guards, and men at arms. Bring on the next one! Like many here have said; when you're sitting on the bus laughing out loud you don't half get some funny looks!!!
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The Fifth Elephant (Discworld Novels)
The Fifth Elephant (Discworld Novels) by Sir Terry Pratchett (Hardcover - 4 Nov 1999)
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