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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker, but also the best yet!
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...
Published on 11 Nov 2002 by Nigel

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really like the book, but...
I'm not sure if i just has a duff copy, but there is only one track on each CD. I am rarely in a position where i will sit down for 60 minutes at a time so i appreciate when they split each CD up into approx 5 minute tracks. These CDs usually are split this way so I'm a little concerned that this is bootleg.
Published on 25 Oct 2010 by D. Lang


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker, but also the best yet!, 11 Nov 2002
By 
Nigel (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping thriller, set in Ankh Morpork, 1 Jan 2003
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!) is brilliantly cast as a cunning mixture of the sort of doctor no one respectable would ever visit and the sort of doctor everyone would like to have. Young Lance-Constable Vimes is endearingly naive. Havelock Vetinari is... well, Vetinari, only younger! And Sam Vimes himself is cast brilliantly as a complex and intense character. Pratchett portrays his skill, his passions, his dissatisfaction, his minor annoyances, his affection and even his dark side with great realism.
Perhaps the most disturbing characterisation would be that of Carcer - the murderer - and the 'Unmentionables' who are the patrician's 'special police' as it were. Pratchett realises the strange sanity possessed by the sociopathic Carcer, and excellently portrays the nature of dystopia in the secret and lawless world of the Unmentionables and their superstitious Captain Swing.
All in all, this was a book that was both humorous and serious, thought-provoking, 'unputdownable', touching in places, and all told with Terry Pratchett's affectionate yet satirical style. It's probably (dare I say it!) my favourite Discworld book yet, and although this may be merely my love of Vimes speaking, it's definitely up there with the best.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating character study of a good man, 27 Oct 2003
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
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. When he's taken out of his element and dumped back in time, he has nothing to go on but his copper instincts. Times may change, politics may change, but coppers are coppers, and they just have to do what is right. Catch the bad guys, keep the peace. He sees himself as an extraordinarily simple man, and in a way, he is. But he's very dedicated to what he does, very strongly determined to do what's right, no matter what the consequences. When rebellion is flourishing all over the city, and the Unmentionables (the current government's secret police) is fomenting even more, Vimes is determined to make sure it doesn't reach the area of the Watch house. He uses some very unorthodox methods to make sure this happens, which doesn't put him on the good side of the Unmentionables (especially a new member, who has seemingly appeared out of nowhere). Vimes continues to show his intelligence, as well as his moralistic thinking. He's put through the ringer in this one, and a very interesting character throughout the previous books becomes a fascinating one instead.
The relationship between him (as John Keel) and the young Sam is a joy to watch. The young Sam is very impressionable. He wants to do the right thing, but he doesn't really know what that is. He took part in the round-ups of curfew-breakers (and delivering them to the Unmentionables) only because he didn't know any different. When Vimes arrives and sees what Sam is in danger of becoming, memories flood over him, and he becomes determined to ensure that Sam becomes what Vimes is. He also tries desperately to keep him out of danger, because he has to keep history going along the path it did before. The relationship is wonderful, and really aids in fleshing out the character of Vimes that we all know and love.
The plot is very interesting as well. Rebellion against the current Patrician of Ankh-Morpork is hitting the city all over the place. It is touching to watch the tragic inevitability of what happens, knowing that as much as Vimes tries, he really has to ensure that history repeats itself. The Lilac rebellion must occur in some fashion, and some good people, who he is getting to know again, are going to die. Carcer is going to do his best to make Vimes' life miserable, and if that involves changing history, too bad.
Pratchett ties everything together nicely into a tight plot with no holes that I could see. The story contains some interesting time travel theories, wonderful writing by Pratchett, and interesting characters. Fans of the series will be glad to see that not only are the Watch back (though they are only there in the present-day sequences), but also the Wizards play a small role. The Monks of History are around, trying to make sure that History is not damaged too badly by what is going on. Also, we get some history on Nobby Nobs, Sergeant Colon, Reg Shoe, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and we find out a very interesting aspect of the current Patrician, Vetinari. I've noticed that in recent books, Pratchett picks and chooses characters from his series to throw together into a book, and I think it really works.
But make no mistake. This book is about Samuel Vimes. He carries the book on his shoulders, and he does it very well. I wasn't sure if Pratchett could do much more with Vimes other than just another "adventure of the City Watch," but Pratchett proved me wrong. In spades. This is a wonderful book. While it's certainly readable as a first Discworld book, it loses a lot of its impact that way, so I would not recommend starting here. Get some background, then come back to this one. It's a keeper.
David Roy
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 1 May 2003
By 
G. Williams "tychobear" (Darmstadt, Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future is past, 14 Jun 2005
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Night Watch: A Discworld Novel (Paperback)
Terry Pratchett is a paragon among writers. While some authors achieve a peak and slide away, even if only temporarily, Pratchett climbs upward, one step [book] at a time, reaching new crests. This work is indisputably his finest endeavor. Unlike other "fantasy" [ugh!] writers, he is able to draw on scientific sources to support his stories. In this instance it's quantum physics, time travel and probability. Oh, yes, and people. Plot and environment are set gently aside in Pratchett's quest to portray folks. Real people in real circumstances. Or at least as real as living in Ankh-Morpork, the Discworld's major city, will allow. We are once again confronted with the puzzle of how much is Sam Vimes Pratchett's idol and how much is Pratchett himself?
All Terry Pratchett's characters are fascinating in their own way. Rincewind, a spectacular coward, expresses a survivor's continuing agonies of fear and distrust. Esme Weatherwax dons a cape of firm self-assurance you could roof a shed with - until she's alone and surveying her frailties. In Sam Vimes, however, Pratchett produced someone special. In his own view Sam sometimes strides on feet of clay. Plagued by self-doubts, worrying about problems often not his, beset by hordes of enemies and unpredictable circumstances, Vimes manages to trot up to the finish line soiled but sturdy. We live in an era when "character" is a disreputable phrase. Still, Sam Vimes arrives at each finale by employing resolute self discipline, applying it to himself or imparting it to others. In this book, that example becomes bifurcated by Sam's knowledge that he's coaching his younger self. Maintaining his own standards while imparting them to young Lance-Constable Vimes is a challenging situation. He was pursuing a killer in his own time - he continues the pursuit in the past. He's also, once again, caught up in Ankh-Morpork politics.
Transported back in time, Vimes remains burdened with memories. Sybil, his wife, is about to produce their first born [promised in Fifth Elephant]. A Watch mainstay, Fred Colon, is an established Corporal, while Nobby Nobbs, a social stain, is a street urchin seeking the main chance. Sam encounters old friends and makes new ones. Some don't survive. Pratchett's ability to give life to each of his characters brings a sense of grief at their loss other authors fail to achieve. You cannot prevent a pause in your reading when you learn of their deaths. There is one character you're eager to see "pass on," but Pratchett denies you that comfort. Fantasy or no, reality is firmly established here. As always with Pratchett, the characters are your neighbours and family. You know them intimately, never mind their distance in time and place. You rejoice in their successes and mourn their losses. It's all part of Pratchett's ability to capture the reader - new or long- standing.
Back in an earlier Ankh-Morpork, Vimes assumes the identity of John Keel. In this role, he establishes new standards in the Watch - dress, behaviour, skills, attitudes. Those who can't conform are eased [at least] out. Inevitably, the role of the Watch in relation to the military arises. Pratchett has addressed this issue before, of course, and it remains unresolved. Especially in times of civil unrest and resentment over government and taxes. The old labour movement refrain "Which Side Are You On" might have replaced the tune running through this book.
Clearly, Pratchett is far more interested in helping his readers confront the world than in carving himself a comfortable niche among escapist fantasy writers. Those who bemoan the loss of "humour" in his recent works [although the asides in this book are among his best], are ignoring the message. He's a serious thinker imparting his ideas using the methods at his command. To pigeonhole him is to ignore his message or reject it. He deserves better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this!, 11 Jan 2005
This review is from: Night Watch: A Discworld Novel (Paperback)
This is another fantastic Discworld book. The plot is one of the darkest, yet thoroughly enjoyable Pratchett has produced. The story takes us back in time to when Ankh-Morpork was even worse than it is in present day. Commander of the City Watch, Sam Vimes finds himself transported there alongside a dangerous villain. He comes across his former self and using the identity of John Keel (the man who taught him eveything he knows) he has to somehow teach his younger self how to be a good copper and save the watch without altering the future he wishes to return to.
Throughout this book you meet an extensive array of well known characters as they were back in the day and its incredibly entertaining and believable to read about their pasts. Nobby Nobbs is a particularly likeable scamp and a glimpse into Vetinari's past is also a pleasure.
As a huge Discworld fan, the stories of the watch are by far my favourites and this one is no disappointment. Twinged with darkness, tragedy and intrigue it has a likeness to the older (and superior) Watch books.
Not a good one to start with if your new to Pratchett as you won't fully appreciate it. Get to know the watch in present day first and it will be so much more of a treat. Try Guards!Guards!, or Men At Arms to familiarise yourself with Vimes, Carrot, Colon and the rest of the squad.
And, as though i need to mention, the humour and wittiness in Night Watch is just as present as in the rest of the series!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Series, 11 Nov 2003
By 
CMD (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Night Watch: A Discworld Novel (Paperback)
I had read Mort, Men at Arms, Soul Music, Feet of Clay, Guards! Guards! and The Fifth Elephant; then I bought Night Watch, and I read it three times in one week - that's how good it is.
Night Watch is set in a much darker Ankh-Morpork (but the river's still semi-solid), with a curfew, a paranoid Patrician and crooked coppers.
The book kicks off with a rooftop chase, leading to a magic storm and Vimes winding up 30 years in the past. And John Keel - the man who will teach young Sam everything he knows has just been killed.
So it's up to Vimes to teach himself, sort out the Watch and try to stop the bloody revolution that's meant to kill Keel.
I loved seeing the young Nobby (my favourite character) and a live Reg Shoe; Colon's barely changed and the bits with Vetinari are to be savoured. The best part is the last stand of the 'lilac lads' - PTerry at his best.
It's a good idea to read Jingo and Thief of Time before Night Watch as those books (which I have now bought); Thief of Time introduce ideas like the Procrastinators while Jingo gives us a better view of members of the Watch.
Without a doubt, Night Watch is the best of all the Discworld books and I challenge anyone to say otherwise. Night Watch combines traditional Discworld humour with Vimes' pessimism; sense of duty and curiosity; a priceless view of Ankh-Morpork in days gone by and a display of camaraderie that even the wonderful Monstrous Regiment cannot match.
Pratchett has truly outdone himself with this book. My advice to you: buy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ooook !, 30 Dec 2002
By 
Solamenn (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
Unlike some of the reviews I have read so far, I had not been disappointed in the latest Pratchett's books. So this one is for me one more demonstration of Pratchett's inventiveness and wonderful talent as a storyteller.
'Night Watch' is a major book in the Guards series and puts a brand new light on some characters.
Sir Samuel Vimes is chasing an awful villain, while at the same time Sybil is giving birth to their new born. A time accident (bless the Monks of History, whom I really love) sends him back thirty years ago, not only in his own past, but also at a very particular moment of the History of Ankh-Morpork, just before one (more) revolution where him, Sam Vimes-who-was took part and where him, Sam Vimes-who-will-be will have to take part to protect his former self. But also because as dear old Sam is, he just can't prevent himself of doing what's right... which of course, is always a bad thing to do when you know the rulers of the city and the way it works.
Add to this Lu-Tze, and not-yet-C.M.O.T. Dibbler. And of course we'll meet younger Colon and younger Nobby, who will show themselves as they never did. As for Vetinari, let's just say he was already there too.
The plot is devious and Pratchett loves to play with Time's loops. The characters are finely written, sad and humourous as a Shakespeare's gravedigger, and they all take unguessed depths.
This new book is somewhat rather dark, but as usual, Pratchett just shows us what humanity is... or what it could be.
It is a jewel !
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett back to his very best!, 20 Nov 2002
By 
Mr Mark Somerville (Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Whilst being a massive fan of the complete Diskworld series, which I personally consider to be the most innovative, imaginative and funny series of stories in existence, I have never before felt moved to write a review.
Whilst Terry Pratchett has been remarkably consistant regarding the quality of the books that make up the series, there have been the occasional effort that has fallen just short of the extremely high standards he has set for himself.
Having read Nightwatch, I can confirm that this book represents Pratchett's best book since the Silver Horde conquered the Counterweight Continent in Interesting Times, which I rate as comparible in class to the best of his books from early in the Diskworld series.
I have struggled to put my finger on exactly what made this book superior to some of the more recent Diskworld novels. The storyline was engaging and the look back at some younger versions of well known characters was interesting and amusing, (with young Nobby Nobb's being a particular favorite). I think that the real difference is the quality of the one liners, which for the first time in a long time made me laugh out loud.
I recommend this book to all Diskworld fans and can guarantee that you will not be disappointed if Santa should happen to bring you this book for Christmas!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When I reached the end of this book I was so disappointed..., 16 Dec 2002
By 
Danielle Lindsay (Guisborough, Cleveland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
that there wasn't any more of it!!! I absolutely loved this book, one of the best I've ever read! I finished it in 3 days and I had to force myself to put it down because I needed to know what happened next! I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan, and love the stories to do with the Watch. This is definately my favourite one to date. Vimes, Nobby, Ventinari, Fred Colon and many other great characters in their younger days are amazing, and Carcer is one of the best villains I've ever read. Full of all the interesting twists and turns we've all come to expect from Terry Pratchett, it'll hook you right from the start, and continue to keep you guessing 'til the end. Comic genius at its best, Terry Pratchett is the greatest English writer in a long time. My only critism of Terry Pratchett is he doesn't write fast enough! I am egerly awaiting the next chapter of the Discworld saga. Long may it continue!
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Night Watch: A Discworld Novel
Night Watch: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - 1 Oct 2003)
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