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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett is back at his best, 22 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
Pratchett has changed. The style of recent books, such as 'Carpe Jugulum' and 'Jingo', has been to sacrifice jokes and sometimes even plot in favour of character development.
The sad thing about this is that he's quite capable of delivering all three at once. His best books seamlessly merge characterisation, comedy and philosophy together, so that you can care and laugh and think all at the same time, without any of these strands getting in the way of the others. Some of the recent books have, I think, noticeably failed in this respect.
'The Fifth Elephant', I'm delighted to say, is one of the best. There are good laughs, not forced but arising naturally from the dialogue. There is plenty to think about. And, for the fans, there is solid and fascinating development of favourite characters: nothing is gratuitous, nothing is out of place, but everything is somehow different.
Fans: don't miss this book. Casual readers: you *could* read this as a stand-alone book. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the deepest (no pun intended) Discworld novels yet, 8 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
The other reviews have mentioned the character development of Vimes, Carrot, Angua, etc. so I won't say much more than that Pratchett understands that the best comedy is only one step removed from tragedy. What impressed me about the Fifth Elephant is the exploration of dwarf lore and culture. In particular, I was intrigued with the repercussions of Cheery Littlebottom's "coming out" in Feet of Clay. By the way, it's also hysterically funny. The subplot with Fred Colon was almost overdone, but still hilarious, especially if you're familiar with "The Caine Mutiny". I hope to see more of Lady Margolotta, and given what Lady Sybil reveals late in the book, I'm really looking forward to the next Discworld novel that features the Watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A star among stars, 6 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
The Fifth Element, like all Pratchett's books, is a mixture of one-line gags, deep undertones, parodies, and satires. It presents a counterpoint history to that of our own; the Scone of Stone is one parallell that will have history buffs chortling, as will B'hrian Bloodaxe. It is noir, it is gothic, it is heartwarming, and it is profound. What more can be said without repeating the plot?
And to all nay-sayers of the more recent Pratchett books; perhaps you simply have not understood the profound philosophical and mythological underpinnings that these have had; if you did you certainly could not pooh-pooh "hogfather".
Regardless of your nay-sayer status, however, The Fifth Elephant is certain to please.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not his funniest, but cleverest by far., 30 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
From start to finish this book has been both a joy and a pain. The joy is the wit and humour that fans of Pratchett have come to expect, the pain is that of your eyes struggling to stay open in the small hours of the night whilst your partner digs you in the ribs so you will switch of your bedside lamp to allow them at least a few hours sleep. Terry Pratchett has embarked on a whole new territory in this, his 26th visit to the Hubs of Discworld. Never has Politics been so much fun to read, in many respects it takes a side-swipe at all politicians and how they conduct themselves, however this time it throws in a player (Sam Vimes) totally new to the political/diplomatic scene. For die hard fans this book is a must some of the best of Pratchetts old characters are in this novel doing what they do best, making a simple situation turn into a chapter of sniggers, guffaws and generally coffee spurting reading. Personally Sam Vimes and his merry band of Watchmen are my favourite set of DiscWorld characters (Closely followed by the Wyrd Sisters). What makes this novel and these characters so refreshing is the UN-politically correctness of them all, in todays society of PC it is good to read a book un-afraid to step over the mark in the name of humour, of course Pratchett can get away with it when you are talking about Vampires, Trolls, Werewolves and dwarves of an imaginary world. Nevertheless it will have readers wiping tears of elation from their cheeks laughing at the stereotyping written in a way only Pratchett can. This book has been a joy to read and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on another Discworld Novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book but I wish it could have been longer., 4 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
What can I say about this book that will not be criticised or ignored??? What Pratchett has done here is add more flesh to his already heavily fleshed out City Watch (except in the cases of the Zombies who constantly lose it and the Trolls and Golem who don't have any to start with and still have none upon them unless it's from most poor maimed criminal who was brought down in the process of justice) and the constantly under developed Uberwald.
Before now we have seen Uberwald only in the briefest of circumstances and the people of this dark, forboding land have played an even smaller part. With this book though you get to understand several of the regular cast a little better, i will never see Littlebottom the same way again, not to mention the entire Dwarfen society. The politics behind Uberwald is both intriguing and still mystifying, maybe a small series set within the boundaries would kill off all interest in this corner of the Disc but something more has to be done in my opinion.
In the end though it comes down to the same conclusions we always have with a City Watch book. Carrot and Angua in a bit of trife over their constant on off relationship and Vimes tracking down a criminal. But at least you can't keep this good man down, after Dragons, Golems and the entire Klatchian army, what else is there for him to go up against????
I feel there is a little change needed to the series as a whole. The whole thing is starting to get repetative after 24 novels and numerous spin offs explaining more of what has already been explained in the aformentioned novels. A new batch of characters an a different part of the Disc would be nice, or maybe some disruption to the series as a whole. Maybe along the lines of the death of someone important like Granny Weatherwax or Munstrum Ridcully, then again I'd prefer to see Rincewind laid to rest peranently more than anyone else. It just all gets repetative now and then.
I give this book only 4 out of 5 as it could have been something different entirely and alot better. The story telling and humour are there but there is something missing. Hopefully Pratchett will bring us another Death story next time or something different like Small Gods or Piramids. After reading this book only once I have to abmit that it is very good, but it could be better
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5.0 out of 5 stars He's still got the magic in him!, 23 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
Can Pratchett top himself one more time? The question pops up regularily after the release of a new Discworld book, and since Jingo, Carpe Jugulum and (if we can really call it a Discworld novel) The Science of the Discworld, it seemed that the author's powerful imagination was at long last having trouble finding new inspiration for us to relish upon. Not that these books were actually bad, but they weren't particularily inspired, they didn't make us feel like we discovered any new element to the plots or the characters.
Well, this period seems to be over for now. In The Fifth Elephant, the Watch of Ankh-Morpork encounters the snow-white country of Uberwald (but through better description, folklore and intrigue than before); we get to see Vimes leaping into mysteries (and getting an A'Tuin's worth of it) once more, Sybil gets into trouble, Carrot surprises us by leaving town, Cheery suddenly becomes more involved in the plot and Angua sorts out family business as we see the Watch on a diplomatic mission in an underworld (litteraly) of mining, werewolves, vampires, healthy runs through snow and fat. The plot has improved dramatically since Jingo, the humour and references are as good as always, the characters are growing and evolving and Colon's adventures with command makes a nice addition to an already very good story.
This latest arrival in the discworld family shows plenty of signs of invention, suspense, character development and fun that I did not see since Feet Of Clay, one of my favorites. The Fifth Elephant features the Watch at its best and the return (again) of Gaspode. One of the best books in the series, which once again makes me languish for the next one to come out...
Rating: To howl for!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome addition, 15 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
One of the most eagerly awaited books for a while from the Discworld, the hype and speculation on the net alone made sure that this is a high profile book for fans of the disc. Fortunately it doesn't disappoint. The teasers going around give a good idea of the story, not the plot. Vimes is on the run, from what?, to where? Itchy trousers? This book introduces new characters to the disc, it deals with the cultural aspects of dwarfdom and the inherent troubles of the disc's politics. Basically a story about the ambitions of the politicians of Ubarwald, Vampires, Werewolves and Dwarves. We get to meet Angua's family, love interests abound and a more sensitive side to Vimes. An interesting story, nicely paced with enough satire and innuendo to make you laugh, nice one about the traffic calming. Quite a good read and follows on from the style of Carpe Jugulum, it seems that the last few Discworld books have a different style to them, more character driven than based entirely on oddity and humour, this merges both seamlessly and is a pleasure. Feelings shared by other reviewers suggest that we may indeed see more of certain characters in the future, Sybil grows, and I think there is a chance that a diplomatic mission from Ubarwald will make an appearance to Ankh, some history is hinted at, and the Patrician's age is questioned, perhaps there is something about him we don't know yet.Can't wait for the next one, any rumours yet? If you are a fan of the Disc buy it, if not read it anyway, you may even be converted. 10/10
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, even though lacking in zany humour, 7 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
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Dare I be a teensy bit critical amidst all these wildly enthousiastic reviews from diehard fans? I have read, like them, all the other Discworld novels. This one, I would hasten to say, contains a cleverly constructed whodunnit and is very well and entertainingly written. But I did miss the kind of situation descriptions and dialogue that used to make me laugh out loud, like the ones in Guards or Interesting Times. And where did all the crazy footnotes go? Of course the final chapter puts the lid on it: Vimes turning out to actually have regular sex with lady Sybil and her turning out to be pregnant. I mean, really! Let's all agree that if we want sexual tension, we will want it between Carrot and Angua, thank you very much. The next book will probably have Vimes pushing the pram and being on the lookout for offers on Pampers. For harsh realities like those I don't want to buy a Fantasy novel. And now that I'm on the subject,lord Vetinari is turning into an ever more benign uncle with each instalment. The next on will probably have him marrying and adopting an orphanage. What happened to his snakepit for mime-players? In short: the Blackadder-like humour and characters are slowly vanishing, which I think is a shame but probably good for US sales. For those qualities I'll simply re-read some of his earlier books.
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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
This review is from: The Fifth Elephant: A Discworld Novel: 24 (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read from a great author, 18 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
I remember the first discworld book I ever read.It was a gift for Christmas from my mother, and Im ashamed to say I was aphrehensive. It was given for the soul reason that it mentioned vampires(Im a fan of that sort of thing). But any way if any one had told me I would be a fan of Fantasy litrature I would have laughed my ass off. I didnt have a clue what this thing called discworld was and Terry was an even bigger mystery.But by the first few pages I was killing myself with laughter and thus a discworld fan was born. That was Christmas Day 1998 and I consider it a kind of anniversary for my conversion to Discworldism.The book was Carpe Juglum and I been addicted ever since. I fell in love with the Watch the moment I first read of the then Captin Vimes stumbling through Ankh Morpork drunk as a very drunk skunk. I have a soft spot for them and prefer their books to the others. So you can imagine how much I loved Fifth Elephant. It was a great book and I found it humouress, but Terry can be funnier. I look forward to the next Watch book if Fifth Elephant is anything to go by it should be excllent to see how the Watch will evolve further in the future.
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The Fifth Elephant: A Discworld Novel: 24
The Fifth Elephant: A Discworld Novel: 24 by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - 2 Nov. 2000)
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