Customer Review

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pride is all very well, but a sausage is a sausage, 2 Jun 2006
This review is from: Men At Arms: (Discworld Novel 15) (Discworld Novels) (Paperback)
"Men at Arms" is the fifteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and the second to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard. Although its reputation may have raised very slightly, having rescused the City from a large and angry dragon, it's still not the fine and noble profession it once was.

Sam is the Captain of the Night Watch, though he is on the verge of retiring and will soon marry Lady Ramkin, the noted dragon-fancier. It isn't entirely clear, however, whether or not he's entirely happy about either the retirement or his impending life of marital bliss. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he hates the Undead (some of my best friends are werewolves), Assassins (a perfectly respectable profession) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). Sam's also trying to quit drinking and has taken up smoking cigars to soften the blow.

The Night Watch has had a couple of new recruits since "Guards! Guards!" - largely at the insistence if the Patrician, the city's ruler. The recruits - Lance-Constables Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) and Angua (a woman, for most of the month) - have been selected to reflect Ankh-Morpork's `ethnic makeup'. Although Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs are Sam's most experienced officers, the most capable is Carrot. Although born human, Carrot was raised as a dwarf and is an incredibly innocent character - he still hasn't figured out what seamstresses do for a living. He has, however, figured out how Ankh-Morpork works and has stopped trying to arrest the President of the Thieves Guild. The trouble begins when Edward d'Eath suspects that Carrot may be the rightful king of Ankh-Morpork.

Edward is the latest Lord d'Eath, albeit a very poor one, following the recent death of his father. He was educated at the Guild of Assassins, where he became the first student to gain full marks at postgraduate level. His suspicions about Carrot are a little worrying, given that he wants to restore the monarchy. This will, of course, see the Patrician `removed' from office - something that should be easier now that he has acquired a weapon that shouldn't exist.

Pratchett's books are always very funny and this one is no exception. Despite being the second book to focus on the Night Watch, there's no real requirement to have read the first - the newcomer won't feel 'left out'. (However, I would recommend reading it, all the same !). Another big plus is Gaspode, Ankh-Morporks finest talking dog. Like Carrot, he's also devoted to Angua - though he's a lot less innocent ! Definitely recommended.
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