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on 21 October 2005
Terry Pratchett has done it again. With Thud! (I've lost track of how many Discworld books there have been), Pratchett returns to the adventures of the "coppers" of Ankh-Morpork, one of the largest cities on the Discworld. It's been a while since we've had a straight "City Watch" book, with Night Watch being a character study of Commander Samuel Vimes, and the subsequent books being standalones, I've really missed seeing the Watch in action. Thud! delivers on all cylinders, going back to some of the basics that made Pratchett what he is today. You've got your quirky characters, you've got your hilarious footnotes (something which seemed to have disappeared from Pratchett's books, much to my chagrin), and you've got Vimes leading them all, trying to be the best copper he can be, doing what's right despite what everybody else seems to want him to do.
The anniversary of the battle of Koom Valley, an ancient battle between the Dwarfs and the Trolls, is coming up, and tension in the city of Ankh-Morpork is rising. Commander Samuel Vimes can smell trouble, and he'll do anything to keep the city safe. When a rabble-rousing Dwarf from the Dwarf homeland is murdered, the Dwarfs immediately blame the Trolls, and it looks like blood will wash over the city. But not with Vimes and the rest of the Watch on the case. A sinister secret from the depths is working its way into the real world again, planning to use the animosity between the two races as its entry point, but it keeps getting stymied. Will the Watch solve the case and bring the perpetrators to justice? And just what is the secret of Koom Valley, and what does it have to do with this entity? And will Vimes be able to keep his daily six o'clock appointment with his young son to read Where's my Cow?
Previous Discworld books have been very humorous, but not laugh-out-loud funny. They've been good, but while I enjoyed them, I've longed for a Pratchett book of old. That's what I got with Thud!, with the return of beloved characters like the very tall, very human Dwarf, Captain Carrot, along with his girlfriend (and werewolf), Sergeant Angua. Pratchett is the master of making all of these characters funny without really making fun of them (ok, he does make fun of Nobby Nobbs, but that's just too easy). Carrot is earnest to a fault, honest, and very loyal. The scene between him and the Patrician at the end of the book is just priceless. Angua becomes suspicious of the female vampire that Vimes has been forced to accept onto the Watch, and the rivalry between them (the werewolf versus vampire rivalry, I mean!) is fun to watch. The rest of the characters are also extremely well done too. Pratchett has shown that he is the master of characterization, and this is yet another example of it.
The plot is a bit too mystic for my tastes (even Vimes can't force himself to believe it), but overall it worked out fine. I loved the ongoing tension between the Dwarfs and the Trolls, especially as we see it in great detail when the Trolls and Dwarfs on the Watch have to deal with it. Detritus, one of the more prominent Trolls on the Watch, really comes into his own, even forcing Vimes to back down from his prejudices at one point. All of the little plots tie together into one big one, even Vimes' insistence on reading the same children's book to his son every night at six o'clock. This did lead to one of the sequences that I had a problem with. The first time this comes up, Vimes has to make it across the city in record time in order to keep his appointment, and he gets a little help from Captain Carrot. I found this sequence forced and not very funny, feeling very out of place in this book. Yes, it does begin what becomes a prominent part of the story, but I think it could have been introduced better.
That is really the only major fault I can find with Thud!, and it's only a small sequence. There are a few other minor things that bothered me, like the disappearance of A.E. Pessimal, the man who comes to audit the Watch, but ends up being deputized and becoming a hero instead. Vimes does do something to him that ensures he will be back, but it would have been nice to see him at the end too. He was extremely funny, especially his introduction to Vimes where he comes off as a humorless git. I also found that the "girls' night out" dragged on a bit too long, but it did have its moments.
Overall, though, Thud! is worth every penny it costs. Instead of serious books with some good humour in them, we get a book that's funny but has a good serious point as well. The differences may be subtle, but they are there, and they can be seen in the footnotes. In older Pratchett books, the footnotes were some of the best comedy in the books, but he started to move away from them. Now, they're back, and with a vengeance. "This was a bit of a slur on Nobby, Vimes had to admit. Like many other officers, Nobby was human. It was just that he was the only one who had to carry a certificate to prove it." I loved almost every page in Thud!, and if you're a Discworld fan, you will too. You don't even need to have read any Discworld before, though it certainly helps if you have at least read some of the Watch books. You'll still laugh a lot, though.
David Roy
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on 15 March 2017
I don't enjoy Discworld anymore. I know it's practically sacrilege to disrespect such a classic, but all the charm is gone. There's hardly any jokes left, the characters are flat, the plots are repetitive and even Vimes annoys me.

I got sick of the constant reminders that Vimes is a good old fashioned copper and always did the right thing. He struck me as really hypocritical in this book. Pratchett constantly reminds us that Vimes is straight as an arrow, yet shows us that Vimes believes he is above the law. He follows the book except when it doesn't suit him. He is supposed to be honest, yet casually turns a blind eye to corruption and police brutality in the force (yet Pratchett somehow makes the inspector sent to stop this, seem like a meddling bureaucrat).

He gives a big speech about doing the right thing and the importance of always following the law, then goes and drugs a thousand to citizens (to stop a riot), hijacks vehicles and closes roads just so he can get home quicker (an abuse of power he would rail against if anyone else did it). He supposedly stands up for the ordinary people yet he thinks of them as nothing but idiots, an unthinking mob.

Every book starts with him expressing a prejudice against a species (in this case vampires) but he completely accepts them by the end of the book. The problem is that nothing happened in between. There was no character arc or growth, no insight to change his mind, it's like he just forgot.

Pratchett is often praised for his depiction of race relations, but I find it very shallow. This book could be summed up as "trolls and dwarves don't like each other, but they probably should." There's no great insight, no lesson, nothing that will make anyone view race relations in our world in a new light. Pratchett's message is basically "Hey, why don't you try not to be racist?"

I could go on and on about other flaws (but I'll probably save it for a blog post) like how the other characters just feel like filler and only exist to tell Vimes messages, or how poor the female characters in general are or how Sybil is just a stereotypical nagging wife who does nothing except make Sam food or what was Pratchett thinking when he wrote "jerk syndrome" (I don't know if that was supposed to be comedy or insight because it was neither.). I don't think I even smiled once while reading this book.
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2017
I have read every Discworld book. I did not really like Thud the first time that I read it when t came out. I am enjoying it much better this time round.
I do find that the later novels tend to get more complicated which is good and not so good depending on how one feels about them. To me they do not seem to have sommuch fun in them.
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on 8 March 2017
Right now, having just finished this book for the umpteenth time, it is my favourite. Sam Vines vs the supernatural, history and bigotry armed with his righteousness, sense of duty and a bedtime ritual. If only bookies took odds.
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on 2 February 2017
Sir Sam Vimes is in the middle of deep down dwarfs digging and Loom Valley looks to explode in town. Can he stop the darkness and can he save himself!
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on 16 May 2017
Did not disappoint i enjoy all the discworld books (apart from Hogfather) pure escapism
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on 21 May 2017
Very interesting book. So sorry that TP has gone..,
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on 7 April 2017
Terry Pratchett's is a genius,
And this work shows every aspect of this fact.
READ IT NOW
PLEASE
DO IT!!!!!! ;!!
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on 20 May 2017
Thanks
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on 9 February 2015
Another cracking Discworld novel. Great fun and an interesting storyline. Would recommend to all pratchett fans . Hope to read more soon.
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