Ankh-Morpork City Watch – despite its growing ranks of dwarves, trolls, gargoyles, werewolves and “normal” (as much as they can be called that) folk – is getting increasingly snowed under. The more recruits enrolled, Sir Samuel Vimes is discovering, the more crimes seem to be uncovered.
Someone is poisoning the Patrician, and Vimes is growing increasingly frustrated because he just can’t figure out HOW… And someone is murdering harmless old men. First, there is the old priest Father Tubelcek, who at least died with a glow in his eyes. And then there is the curator of the Dwarf Bread Museum, battered to death with one of his own exhibits. But, perhaps most disturbing of all, the golems – the solemn men of clay who aren’t really alive, work all day and all night and never harm a soul – have started to commit suicide…
And it’s not as if the Watch hasn’t got problems of its own …there’s something odd about the new dwarf recruit. There’s a werewolf suffering from pre-lunar-tension. And, having discovered that he is actually the Earl of Ankh, Corporal Nobby Nobbs is busy hob-nobbing with the nobs.
Vimes finds himself faced with the most puzzling case in Discworld history. There are Clues throwing themselves up all over the place, and they only cloud the issue. Plus, Sam is finding that, for all the answers lying about the place, he can’t for the life of him think of the question…
All the more ominous is the fact that the real truth may not really be out there at all, but that it might be in amongst the words in the head…
First, lets get one thing out of the way. It’s hilarious. But of course it is, it’s Terry Pratchett. There are some passages that have you chuckling to yourself, and there are others that strike you down helpless with a big belly-laugh. And then, (and these are my favourite) there are those that cause you to laugh jocularly, but then to take a step-back, awed, at the sheer TRUTH of what some of his humour illustrates to us, and the almost unbelievable cleverness of what he’s saying and the way he’s said it. The mirror he puts up to our own society enables us to laugh at it, to recognise it’s curiosities and, sometimes, its shocking flaws.
His plots are brilliant, and this one more-so than most. Like his other books, it’s a fantasy of the Discworld, but unlike his others, it’s also very much a crime/mystery story. And a darned ingenious one it is, too. I’ve not ever come across a more astoundingly clever way of poisoning someone in all the books I’ve read that normally fall into the crime/mystery genre. (And that is a LOT.) His characters are wonderfully well-drawn, and Sam Vimes is one of the most fascinating investigators of crime since Inspector Morse or John Rebus.
To be honest, any point in the series is a fine a place to begin (and make certain that you DO begin it. You’ll not regret doing so, believe me. Well, and his sales figures) as any other, but it may take you a couple of books to get used to the style. If you balk at anything other than reading a series through rom its beginning, then by all means do so. You’ll reap the rewards. But if you’re not all that bothered, try a couple from the beginning of the series – perhaps The Colour of Magic and Mort – and then read Feet of Clay.
If pressed to choose a favourite Pratchett, it would likely be this book. Nearly every element
is here, delivered with Pratchett's premium prose and matchless wit. This effort is a bit of a
wonder, as it's a murder mystery, a genre I rarely delve into. Still, it's a Pratchett and goes
from being worth a look to something to be cherished, its chief character a man to be admired.
Sam Vimes, who we first encountered in a sodden gutter, soddin' drunk, has risen to a
knight's rank and is now Commander of the City Watch. He maintains a careful balance
between being the Patrician's favourite and his nemesis. Vetinari knows he cannot truly
control Vimes. For all Sam's resistance to the Patrician's deviousness, Vetinari knows that he
cannot dispense with The Stoneface Policeman. Especially this time when its Vetinari himself
who is the victim of a murder plot. An unsuccessful one, as it happens.
Sam's entered the realm of matrimony, a step which elevates him almost more than the
promotions granted by the Patrician. Lady Sybil, however, remains at the periphery of Sam's
focus. He's still a copper and one of the biggest cases of all confronts him in this book. First,
foremost and throughout this book, Sam Vimes is tasked with guarding his own back. Vimes
is "a jumped-up copper to the nobs, and a nob to the rest", which gorges the ranks of his
enemies. His thwarting of an Assassin is pure Pratchett; pure Vimes, for that matter. One
can't help but wonder why Vetinari doesn't assign Vimes some bodyguards. Instead he gets a
sedan chair - which he "drives" himself.
There are murders in this book, unusual in Pratchett. Two deaths arouse the City's ire against
new Pratchett figures, the golems. Golems reach far into the depths of European history -
mindless, man-like creatures from the soil who can be put to any task. Created only to obey,
they are the perfect slave - rebellion isn't in their make-up. Except for their size, they are
nearly defenseless. The perfect suspect, ultimately vulnerable, who can be destroyed without
qualms of conscience. The situation is so clear-cut that Sam knows they can't be guilty. But
In his quest for justice, Sam is supported both in the plot and in the characters of his Watch
team. In this book, Angua reaches new levels of prominence, which brings Carrot forth in
new ways, as well. Describing their situation as a "relationship" gives the term a whole new
meaning. The Watch now has a forensic expert in the figure of a dwarf - Cheery Littlebottom.
It's not possible to dwell further here on this unique Watch specialist. You must read this
book to become acquainted with one of Pratchett's most engaging characters. Read further to
discover one of his most devious creations.
As with most of Pratchett's recent books, there's a sub-theme running beneath all the hilarity
and convoluted thinking. In this case, the issue is "freedom". This word has been bandied
about by so many writers in so many circumstances, it's hard to believe that Pratchett could
bring anything fresh to the discussion. As always, Pratchett is able to surprise and excel. His
discussion freedom's worth and what it takes to be achieved adds lustre to an already superb
story. Pratchett's ability to bring philosophical issues into what is still described as
"humorous fantasy" is a unique talent. We must keep buying and touting this finest of
purveyors of wisdom and wit.
on 14 July 2003
Pratchett is on top form yet again with this witty, mysterious and suspensful book, featuring golems, hippos, and a dwarf with attitude.
Familliar faces from the Watch return, as well as one or two new ones. Cheery Littlebottom, the self-proclaimed female dwarf and forensic expert, is a delight to read about, and the return of my personal favourite Nobby Nobbs is, as ever, hillarious.
The main star of Feet Of Clay, however, is Sam Vimes. Magically transformed from gutter-dweller to duke, he provides much of the wit and humour Pratchett is notorious for, as well as solving the whodunnit of the story, the howdunnit, and what they dun (though, admittedly, not before the victim in question, Lord Vetinari).
This book is probably not the best for new Discworld readers, but experienced readers will love it.
And remember the main message of the book:
Slab: jus' say 'AarrgharrghpleeassennononoUGH'.
on 1 October 2010
As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed this Discworld Novel. TP's abaility to bring Ankh Morporkh to life is astounding (mind you, I have read so many of his books now I almost know my way around) and I always enjoy any of his novels involving The Watch.
Like all TP's novels, Feet of Clay contains huge variety of characters that are so real in your mind that in some cases you can almost smell them (foul ol' Ron or Corporal Nobbs).
The plot is as usual very clever with plenty of twist and turns to keep you guessing and lots of little assides to keep you amused I say 'plot' - the story revolves around two plots, one involving the Patrician and the other involving Golems with the two intertwined and linked rather nicely via The Watch who do all the investigating. I won't say more as you should just read it for yourself and enjoy. Needless to say, I found my self chuckling out loud - a sure sign I am reading a discworld novel and yet there is as always a slightly serious undercurrent that lurks just below the humour as TP mixes his subtle observations on live into his novels.
The man is quite clearly a genious and if I could write even half as well as he does I would be seriously happy.
The revitalised Ankh-Morpork City Watch is expanding and Commander Vimes is starting to get a hang of his new position and social standing when things start to take a turn for the worst. First two old men are found dead and then the Patrician falls ill due to a mysterious case of poisoning. The Watch and their new forensic department (a Dwarven Alchemist with issues) must find out not only who is responsible but also how they are doing it and how everything links together.
`Feet of Clay' is easily my favourite of all the City Watch books and I rank it as one of my all-time favourite Discworld books in general. The whodunit storyline of the book is interesting, the book is brilliantly funny throughout and also has some nicely emotional moments as well. This book introduces the interesting concept of Dwarven feminism as well as being the first to go into detail about Golems. The book sees all the usual City Watch characters along with a few new ones such as the Watch Alchemist Cherry Littlebottom and the Omnian Constable Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets.
`Feet of Clay' is easily one of the best Discworld books in the series and is easily worth a full five stars.
This is the nineteenth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and features the City Watch, led by Commander Vimes; that’s Sir Samuel Vimes to those in the know. When harmless Father Tubelcek is killed, and then Mr Hopkinson, the curator of the Dwarf Bread Museum, there doesn’t seem to be any link between the deaths. But Vimes also has his own cross to bear, in the form of a visit to the Royal College of Heralds, as per his wife’s wishes. When Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork falls deathly ill, Vimes begins to think that this time it all might be a bit much. But of course he can rely on the ceaseless search for truth of his City Watch, with Captain Carrot, and the new forensic expert Cherry Littlebottom.
This is a wonderful Discworld novel; I always like the novels that feature the City Watch, and the disparate characters who make up the guards. The Patrician is always on top, dark form, and Vimes’s unorthodox methods of keeping the peace in Ankh-Morpork are always suitably twisted. All generally works out well in the end, and the city of Aknh-Morpork grinds on. Excellent stuff.
on 7 April 2006
Feet Of Clay is another fast-paced detective mystery by Terry Prattchett.In Feet Of Clay the Patrician of Ankh-Morpok is being poisoned and there are rumors among the golems that a king golem will come and free them from their days of silent slavery.If the golems are freed they will wreak havoc upon their former masters and the only people who can stop this from happening are the men,women and various other species of the night watch including new constables Cheery,Dorfl,Downspout and Visit-the-infidels-with-explantory-pamplets.If you enjoy this book then read books 8,15,21,24,27 and 32.
on 17 April 2016
Feet of Clay was the first Pratchett book that I ever read, and it’s the book that made me fall in love with the Discworld series. I still think that the Ankh Morpork City Watch books are the best books within the series, and I’m not sure whether that’s because they’re the books that introduced me to Vimes and Vetinari or because they’re just really, really good. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
In Feet of Clay, the Watch is finally beginning to get into shape, and if you’ve read the later books in the City Watch series, you’ll kind of see how it was in this book that the Watch became an actual credible organisation, rather than a ragtag bunch of corrupt nutters who everyone looked down upon.
Part of that is because of the golem aspect of the story line – it’s their feet of clay which cause something of an uproar in the city, and we get to see the full force of Vimes’ liberal attitude, here. Perhaps ‘liberal’ is the wrong word here, but you can’t deny that he has a strong sense of justice, and justice is justice no matter what species you are.
And there are plenty of other reasons to love this book, too – to start with, a crime has been committed, but nobody knows who did it, how they did it, or what it was that they actually did. Meanwhile, Angua is on fine form, Carrott comes into his element as the Watch is forced to deal with dwarfish politics, and Vimes has several of his finest hours.
Now, I read this book first because it was one of Pratchett’s most recent works at the time, and whilst I do think it’s one of his greatest works, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you start with it. In fact, you’re probably better off with one of the earlier City Watch books, or if you read them all in order. That said, it’s definitely one to look forward to, and your enjoyment can only be enhanced if you’ve read the books that came before this, as you’ll pick up on more of the nuances.
And so overall, I’d say that this is an essential book for your collection, whether you’re a Pratchett reader or not. In fact, you should get it whether you’re into fantasy or not, ’cause Pratchett rocks!
on 26 December 2013
Another feat of genius storytelling from the supreme Grand Wizzard of The Genre.
These Watch tales are always a pleasure to read and re-read again and again, there is always something new that I discover, like the Dirty Harry scene with Carrot and Angua at the café and the getaway horse and cart across the road, pure gold.
All the characters are so believable, even the ones that get no more than a few paragraphs before they are killed off or merge into the cast of thousands, when old favourite characters make a guest appearance, like C.M.O.T Dibbler selling his sosig ina bun, brings a smile to warm the depths of any dark mood.
Sam Vimes is like "JUDGE DREDD" of The Watch, he is THE LAW. He's even got the same nickname 'ole Stoneface', hmmmmm.
Fred and Nobby are always welcome here, Fred wants to retire and buy a farm and when he's chased by the Golem ,he very nearly does. Nobby is possibly the last Earl of Ankh and he mingles with the other (k)nobs.
C.S.I makes an appearance in the Watch in the form of Cheery Littlebottom, a dwarf with no eyebrows and a gender/identity issue.
This is a great murder/mystery/conspiracy plot well worthy of Conan Doyles famous creation.
This is a book that deals with race, sex(ism), politics(yawn), slavery and murder, this is a page turning, roller coaster ride that you do not want to get off. I am always slightly saddened when I finish a visit to Ankh-Morpork and my time on The Watch ends.
Pratchett is a comedy genius with his puns and play on words,
"He's a Peer"
"I'd better put fresh sawdust down then"
Feet of Clay" is the nineteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series, was first published in 1996 and is the third to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard.
Sam is the now the Commander of the City Guard, and - having married Lady Ramkin - a member of the nobility. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he doesn't like the Undead (particularly vampires), Assassins (they keep trying to kill him) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). Sam has quit drinking - though it's still something of a struggle - and smokes the occasional cigar to ease the blow.
Although numbers among the ranks are rising, Sam tends to rely on those he knows best. His most capable officer is Captain Carrot - who was born human, although raised as a dwarf. Carrot is an incredibly innocent and very honest character and is widely believed to be Ankh-Morpork's rightful King. (Sam has - to date - refrained from beheading him). Carrot's girlfriend, Angua, is also a member of the City Guard though - being a werewolf - she isn't quite so popular. Sergeant Detritus, a troll who deals roughly with troll drug-dealers, seems a natural - not to mention likeable - cop, though Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs (a confirmed slacker and probably human) are the most experienced officers. The one newcomer is Cheery Littlebottom, an ex-alchimist dwarf who becomes quite useful in the City Guard's newly established forensics department. (Cheery left the Guild of Alchemists after, accidentally, blowing up the Guild Council. Alchemy is an unusual profession for a dwarf, though Cheery - as it turns out - isn't your usual dwarf).
"Feet of Clay" gives Sam a good, old-fashioned mystery to solve - a mystery that includes a couple of rather unusual murders. One of the victims is Father Tubelcek, who Sam considers to be one of the neatest corpses he's ever seen : eyes closed, arms neatly folded across his chest...and a slip of paper with some strange writing on it in his mouth. The other victim was Mr Hopkinson, curator at the Dwarf Bread Museum. Dwarf bread is much more useful on the battlefield than on the breakfast table, and Hopkinson had unfortunately been beaten to death with a loaf. There is a little white clay and a suspicion of Golems hanging around, but the murders are puzzling...however, it's difficult to focus on a puzzle, when you've also got to investigate the poisoning of the Patrician. (He's surviving, but only barely). The difficulties aren't confined to professional matters - there's even bad news for both Sam and Nobby at a personal level. Following a visit to the Royal College of Heralds, Sam learns he is ineligible for a Coat of Arms. (An ancestor, Old Stoneface, killed Ankh-Morpork's last king). To make matters even worse, news of his rejection is delivered by a vampire called Dragon King of Arms. Nobby, on the other hand, is devastated to learn he is Earl of Ankh.
Another very funny book from Pratchett, with a storyline 'underneath' it all that your standard murder-mystery writer would love to tell. Excellent stuff, highly recommended !