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Men At Arms: (Discworld Novel 15) (Discworld Novels) Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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"'Funny, wise and mock heroic...The funniest and best crafted book I have read all year'" (Sunday Express)
"'Like Jonathan Swift, Pratchett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent ... incredibly funny ... compulsively readable'" (The Times)
"'His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction'" (Mail on Sunday)
"'The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody ... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences'" (New York Times)
"'Persistently amusing, good-hearted and shrewd'" (Sunday Times)
The fifteenth Discworld novel.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
n the early books, Terry Pratchett tended to focus on relatively crude (though very funny) parodies of fantasy tropes, and in the later ones, they become more stories about real life issues that happen to feature dwarves, and that valued plot over puns. This book falls right in the middle and does both aspects very well.
On the one hand, it's playing with that staple of fantasy novels - the long-lost king returning. Only this book questions whether that's necessarily a good thing, even if the suspected heir happens to be a good man.
On the other, it deals with real world themes of racial tension and positive discrimination in the police, using battles between dwarves and trolls to make the point. The parallels are neatly drawn, and the author makes his points clearly, without getting preachy.
The two main aspects are played out via a murder mystery involving a mysterious new weapon, and in-between are all sorts of side plots, clever points and amusing asides.
The plot is compelling, the humour is strong (both clever one liners and elaborate set pieces)and the characters are memorable.
I wouldn't count this as one of the very, very best Discworld books - I suspect that Pratchett really hits his high point a few books after this - but in some ways it's the epitome of a Discworld novel, so it's a great one to start with if you're new to the series (it's the 15th, but they don't have to be read in order)and well worth a re-read if you're an old fan.
Men at Arms is the second Discworld novel to focus on the City Watch, introduced in the classic Guards! Guards! As told in that volume, the City Watch saved the city from a marauding dragon and at the end of the book the Watch gained fresh resources from a grateful city government. However, it is still regarded as a joke, as Men at Arms makes clear.
Pratchett once again uses the cliches and ideas of police procedurals to generate humour and satire, although this volume is much more of a hard-bitten (in some cases, literally) mystery novel. Sam Vimes is portrayed as the cynical, weathered old cop doggedly pursuing his case in the face of all opposition, whilst Corporal Carrot is his enthusiastic young sidekick. Of course, that would be a bit too cheesy, so Pratchett subverts this idea earlier on and takes the story in a more interesting and original direction.
The city of Ankh-Morpork comes to life in this book more successfully than in any prior volume, to the extent that Pratchett's playwright and friend Stephen Briggs was able to use information in this book (and the prior ones) to map the city so everything tracked and made sense (the results can be found in the spin-off product, The Streets of Ankh-Morpork).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really good read, not the best "Sam vines" book but a good read all the same. If you liked this you'll love "night watch"Published 6 days ago by Matt Morton
This book is unputdownable. The characters develop well and the story goes steadily towards a showdown of putting a police force in good standing. Read morePublished 6 days ago by B. Scour
Love this book. It manages to be funny, interesting and entertaining while holding a mirror to our spherical world. TP will be missedPublished 2 months ago by Andrew Baker