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Possibly (although only possibly) the best Discworld novel,
This review is from: Feet Of Clay: (Discworld Novel 19) (Discworld Novels) (Paperback)
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.