The Fifth Elephant: (Discworld Novel 24) (Discworld Novels) Paperback – 10 Oct 2013
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Terry Pratchett has a seemingly endless capacity for generating inventively comic novels about the Discworld and its inhabitants but there is in the hearts of most of his admirers a particular place for those novels which feature the hard-bitten captain of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch Samuel Vimes. Sent as ambassador to the Northern principality of Uberwald where they mine gold, and iron and fat, but never silver, he is caught up in an uneasy truce between dwarfs, werewolves and vampires, in the theft of the Scone of Stone (a particularly important piece of dwarf bread) and in the old werewolf custom of giving humans a short start in the hunt and then cheating...
Pratchett is always at his best when the comedy is mixed with a real sense of jeopardy that even favourite characters might be hurt if there was a good joke in it. As always the most unlikely things crop up as the subjects of gags--Chekhov, grand opera, the Caine Mutiny--and as always there are remorselessly funny gags about the inevitability of story:
"They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.All this, the usual guest appearances and Gaspode the Wonder Dog... -- Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical question: when millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there is no one to hear it, does it--philosophically speaking--make a noise?
As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it".
"Precisely balanced . . . excellent set pieces . . . a cracking comic thriller." (The Times)
"He would be amusing in any form and his spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction." (Mail on Sunday)
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Top Customer Reviews
The wonderful Sam Vimes - clever, upwardly mobile but basically honest and down-to-earth chief of police of Ankh-Morpork - is sent with his aristocratic wife on a diplomatic mission to troubled realm of Uberwald. Why did the city's ruler Lord Vetinari, a man who could give Machiavelli lessons in deviousness, chose Vimes of all people for this delicate task? What exactly is going on in Uberwald, where the uneasy balance of power between dwarves, werewolves, and vampires seems to be breaking down? All is revealed in a book that is both dark and humorous, engrossing and highly entertaining.
Many of the usual characters we have come to know from the Discworld novels are here, and trying to make the best of an unfamiliar and threatening place and understand the peoples and their politics.
Once again Pratchett is the master not only of plot and character but also of the little aside, the fascinating but not overdone individual, the sly and amusing reference. We learn, for instance, that it is a social blunder to use the word "bath" to an upper-class werewolf when he is in human form, it makes him uncomfortable. We are introduced to a vampire equivalent of AA where members help each other keep off the human blood and get through "vun night at a time".Read more ›
When we first met Sam Vimes in GUARDS! GUARDS!, he was sodden in a gutter, soddin' drunk. Hardly an auspicious beginning for a heroic figure. Discworld heroes are often found in unusual circumstances, rarely admirable at first sight. Sam's a copper, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's Night Watch. It's a job to send any man's hand groping for support, even if the brace is in the form of a bottle. Now he's on his way to Uberwald. Trolls, Dwarves and Werewolves have all emigrated from this region, taking up residence in Sam's city. He hasn't shed his resentment at this intrusion, nor his suspicion of these bizarre life forms. His earlier cultural challenges came from the likes of Klatchians, who were at least human. The Patrician has made him a diplomat, a real challenge for a man with so little tact. He must deal with all these creatures he resents. Failure to deal successfully may result in his becoming part of the local cuisine.
Sam has an advantage over many of us. Strongly self-aware, he manages to control his temper and intemperance. He's pulled himself out of the gutter. Now the Duke of Ankh- Morpork, he's married into the city's aristocracy. His diplomatic skills are going to be put to severe tests. To ease the pressure, Sam is accompanied by his recently acquired spouse, Sybil Ramkin. Her presence with him on this venture is an indication of his newly elevated status, and recognition of her well established one.Read more ›
A good read and a good title pun. Adventure, humour, crime, deep insights and a wonderfully skewed perspective on the human condition as usual. Terry Pratchett can do no wrong in my eyes, although I do have to confess this story is not my most favourite.
My mother's condition means that she prefers a male voice for its lower range and needs words to be spoken clearly and relatively slowly. Mr Robinson is excellent in this regard; an exponent of his art He maintains the expressiveness and excitement that makes the story flow and conveys beautifully the emotions intended by the author. Mr Robinson is a true craftsman.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Almost perfect Pratchett....Unfortunately for The Fifth Elephant, I am writing this having just finished "Steam" which is as perfect as Pratchett gets .. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roy Francis
The city watch stories never fail to amuse and entertain and this one does not disappoint. A fabulous story of love, politics and cultural differences with the classic marks of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by HWheeler
Love all Terry Pratchett books but especially the ones that include the Night Watch and Sam Vimes. This one is very good.Published 2 months ago by Carole
Can't wait to read it again. Do Pratchett fans really need urging to buy?Published 2 months ago by Florabunda