18 of 18 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
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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18 of 18 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 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.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating character study of a good man,
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.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping thriller, set in Ankh Morpork,
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Series,
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ooook !,
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 !
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this!,
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!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of Pratchett's best,
Having been a HUGE Discworld fan for over ten years, I am always eager to read every new book. This, the 29th in the adult Discworld canon, is one of the best Pratchett books ever. Sam Vimes is a creation of genius. Pratchett has been gradually developing him from the drunk, cartoon copper of Guards! Guards! and he is now a fully-rounded individual that the reader is able to really relate to. He is cynical yet soft-hearted, a powerful man in present-day Ankh-Morpork, yet still keen to be on the street with the rest of his coppers. In this book he and the murderer he is chasing are thrown back in time by a magical storm, to a time just before a revolution in Ankh-Morpork. Vimes appears in the past as the Sergeant who taught him all he knows, and has to ensure that history happens as it should in order to get back to his future with his wife and their unborn child. We meet younger versions of many popular characters such as Colon, Nobby, Rosie Palm and even Havelock Vetinari, as a somewhat bullied member of the Assassin's School. There is also a welcome appearance for Lu-Tze, the most well-travelled Monk of History, follower of the Way of Mrs Cosmopolite, etc. There's intrigue aplenty as Vimes tries to save his friends while also knowing that some of them have to die for History to work.
This is a brilliant read, rightly making it into The Big Read Top 100, along with a number of other Pratchett novels. It is funny, sad and clever and it had me totally enthralled from beginning to end. Readers new to Pratchett should probably try one of his older books first, though, to get used to his style. If you want to follow all the City Watch books in the correct order, they go like this: 'Guards! Guards!', 'Men At Arms', 'Feet of Clay', 'Jingo', 'The Fifth Elephant', 'Night Watch', and 'Thud'. Various members of the Watch also appear in a number of the other Discworld novels, including 'Maskerade', 'Hogfather', 'The Truth', 'Monstrous Regiment' and 'Going Postal'.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discworld grows up,
Sam Vimes is at heart a copper, a good copper, but when he was young he could have gone either way.
If it hadn't been for his old sergeant John Keel, he might still be taking his share of the 'fines' home and looking the other way while the guilty leg it. However, now, thanks to a temporal storm in a magic library, it's all gone pear-shaped. This time round Keel has been murdered before he could even join Treacle Mine Road Nick and there's no one around to pick up the pieces, well... except for Vimes himself.
So here he is, thirty years back in time, and all he has to do is: clean up the Watch, shut down the Unmentionables, re-organise a revolution, give himself a role model to be proud of and catch the bad guy. Surely that's not a problem for the man who ended a war by arresting both armies... is it? Oh, but I forgot to mention, he's also got stay alive.
This book has a very different feel from the early discworld books. There are far fewer puns or silly jokes and much more of a story. That is, of course, how it should be, this the 29th Discworld book that he has written, and in most cases it will be the 29th book that most fans have read. We know the people and places too well now for slapstick comedy to work as it used to. This is a well written novel set in a mature fantasy world. I'm not sure if it would be the book that I'd like to have started reading Discworld books from (I'd personally recommend 'Guards, Guards' for that), but it tells a story that has to be told, we get Vimes' back history, the watch's back history and we find out what Ankh-Morpork was like pre-Vetinari, something we've only had tantalising glimpses of before.
There were one or two muddy patches, Terry Pratchett is not quite a good enough writer to make the pseudo-psychological stuff about Vimes' beast anything but melodrama, but as Vimes did not get onto (or near) the top of most people's list of favourite discworld characters by being badly written, the rest of his thoughts and fears are thoughtfully realistic. Vimes' tactics, of course, work better in Ankh-Morpork than they ever would in modern day Brixton or Burnley, but then, as that is the only place they need to work, does that really matter? For me there was too much History Monk stuff, I know they had to be there for the story to work, but I could have managed without the baked bean tin of eternal reflection etc.
All in all it is a good read, meeting old friends in different guises is always fun and everyone likes to find out where everything started. As this a Terry Pratchett book, it isn't obvious whether it's all going to work out for the best, but as the monk says, history will find a way, so we do know we're going to end up somewhere interesting.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pratchetts best in some years,
Pratchett has rediscovered a lot of his skill by moving what he does best (Characterisation and dialogue) out of his increasingly restrictive 'modern-day' Ankh-Morpork and dumps Captain Vimes twenty years back in time, into his own past.
This frees him to be a lot more open in his plotting - under normal circumstances heroes and villains are pretty clear cut and the reader can tell from page 1 who they are; and there is no feeling of danger to any of the established characters.
Not as funny as he has been, this undoubtedly has the best plot and most satisfying for a Diskworld book in some time (i.e. one you can't predict the ending of within 20 pages). Furthermore, with Pratchetts trademark characterisation (which is second to none) the addition of a good plot makes this book fairly crackle along in a highly enjoyable fashion.
I shan't give away any of the plot as it wouldn't be fair to spoil somehting so satisfying, but I can heartily recommend this book: somehting I have not been able to say about a Diskworld book without blushing and looking at my feet for quite some time.
If I have one complaint, it is that the production values of the publishers are so low - faint ink on toilet paper is less quality than one would expect for the UKs best selling author, and I'm irritated that they plainly feel they can get away with corner cutting in production as hey, all the fans will just buy it any ay.
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Night Watch: (Discworld Novel 29) (Discworld Novels) by Sir Terry Pratchett