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Veni vermini voomui,
This review is from: Jingo: A Discworld Novel: 21 (Paperback)
"Jingo" in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series, was first published in 1997 and is the fourth to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard.
Sam is the Commander of the City Guard, and - having married Lady Ramkin - a member of the nobility. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he doesn't like the Undead (particularly vampires), Assassins (they keep trying to kill him) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). However, despite being terminally suspicious, he is also a very likeable and fair man. While in the past Sam has dealt with the `small' crimes, Jingo sees him moving in a new environment : war and - even more dangerously - politics. The book opens with a mysterious island called Leshp rising from beneath the sea, exactly halfway between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch. Both, naturally, claim it as their own...
Klatch is a huge, multi-ethnic empire, and rivals Ankh-Morpork commercially. Furthermore, it's far ahead of Ankh-Morpork in terms of technology and scientific knowledge. Yet, the average Morporkian - despite having an enormous appetite for Klatchian curry and kebabs - seems to look down on "Johnny Klatchian" as some sort of primitive coward. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth : the D'regs, for example, are a terrifying desert tribe who trust no-one and will fight anyone on a matter of principle.
In an attempt to resolve the situation - Klatch's Prince Khufurah arrives in the city for discussions with Vetinari. Depressingly, anti-Klatchian tensions rise in Ankh-Morpork...which naturally makes things very difficult for those of Klatchian extraction living in the city. So, when someone tries to assassinate Khufurah - apparently a lone bowman - nobody seems too surprised. Naturally, this only cranks things up at a `diplomatic' level, and - with the heads of the city's Guilds raising private armies - Sam is really up against it...
Although numbers in the Watch continue to rise, Sam still relies most on those he knows best. His most capable officer is Captain Carrot - who was born human, although raised as a dwarf. Carrot is an incredibly innocent and honest character, though many believe him to be Ankh-Morpork's rightful King. (Sam has - to date - refrained from beheading him). Carrot's girlfriend, Angua, is also a member of the City Guard though - particularly useful, given that she's a werewolf. Sergeant Detritus, a troll, seems a natural and likeable cop...though, unfortunately, he becomes a little more stupid as the temperatures rise. Unfortunately, Sam has to do without his most experienced officers for much of the book - Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs (a confirmed slacker and probably human) are roped into a secret mission... although he has some help from two new recruits : Fred Shoe, a zombie, and Buggy Swires, a gnome.
Another very funny book from Pratchett, with a storyline 'underneath' that would have made cracking thriller. The anti-Klatchian attitude of the average ignorant, bigoted, ill-informed Morporkian was a little depressing at times...even more so, given how attitudes have hardened in the real world in recent years. An excellent book though, and highly recommended.