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Freedom! Resonably Priced Love! And a Hard-Boiled Egg!
on 6 June 2017
This was one of the last, "classic" Pratchett Discworld novels, before his illness began to effect his work. Vimes is my favourite character, a born Copper who would arrest the Gods themselves if he could. It's fascinating to read the City Watch novels in order, and follow Vimes' slow transformation from cynical drunk commanding a useless and forgetton Night Watch to one of the richest and most powerful men in the city.
Vimes is some ways resembles Granny Weatherwax; both secretly fear the darkness within themselves, and gain much of their power through denying it. Vimes calls this side of himself, "the Beast". While it can be useful in combat, granting Vimes a kind of Berserker fury, he worries that he might give into it completely. To avoid this, Vimes has created a kind of internal Watchman to keep the Beast on a leash.
In this novel, Vimes and a serial killer named Carcer are sent back in time due to a magical accident. They arrive around thirty years in the past, when Vimes was a raw recruit, and Ankh-Morpork was on the brink of revolution. Vimes must protect his younger self, capture Carcer and return to the present. And do it all without changing the past too much.
We meet younger versions of the regular cast, so to speak; Nobby, Colon, Reg Shoe, Mrs Palm, CMOT Dibbler and even Vetinari and Downey. The History Monks, aka The Men in Saffron, aka No Such Monastery also play a prominant role.
Noticably less overtly humorous than many Discworld novels, with a bitter-sweet edge to the writing. A book I've read many times and still take pleasure from.