Friday, December 29, 2006

Thud! - by Terry Pratchett

Thud!, the 30th instalment in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, is set in the sprawling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork...
Sam Vimes has a problem, well actually more than one. Lord Vetinari has given him a new recruit for the Watch, a vampire. Okay Sally is a Black Ribboner from the League of Temperance and has sworn off sucking anyone's blood but fear of the vampire is in your genes isn't it and Sam's only human. Sgt. Angua is positively more than human and she doesn't like the idea either. I mean - a vampire in the Watch!

On top of that, with the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley coming up, the Dwarfs and the Trolls are at it again. Fighting I mean! Each side blames the other for ambushing their side and starting the battle and every now and again, they get to fighting it all over again and Sam really doesn't want the streets of Ankh-Morpork awash in blood. Things go from bad to worse when a senior Dwarf turns up dead with his head bashed in and there's a Troll's club lying by his side.

There's also Mr. A.E. Pessimal, the government inspector who wants to go though all of his paperwork and then there's the darkness that's hovering at the fringes of reality and looking for a way in or at least someone to hold the door open for it. But the real problem is, it's late and Sam just has to get home for six o'clock and absolutely nothing is going to stop him from getting there on time.

As you've probably guessed, this is another tale of the City Watch with all the usual characters such as Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Captain Carrot, Sargeants Fred Colon, Angua, Detritus, Cheery Littlebottom, Corporal Nobby Nobbs and Constables Reg Shoe, Dorfl, Igor and Visit The Ungodly With Explanatory Pamphlets. Of course that lot includes a mix of humans, dwarfs, a werewolf, a troll, a golem, an Igor, a zombie and Nobby Nobbs.

It's a pretty complicated plot with several murders, the theft of insane artist Methodia Rascal's 50-foot painting of The Battle Of Koom Valley from the museum and the mystery as to just exactly what the Dwarves are doing under the streets of Ankh-Morpork. The painting, along with its companion book The Koom Valley Codex, is said to contain hidden messages that could lead the lucky solver to a fabulous treasure hidden in Koom Valley. On top of that is the seriously amazing fact that Nobby Nobbs has a girlfriend and she's an exotic dancer to boot.

Thud tackles topics such as racism and intolerance with the general Troll/Dwarf conflict and the werewolf/vampire tension between Angua and Sally. It also covers the downside of drug abuse in the story of young Brick the Troll. Pratchett always seems to take some serious social issues like these and have us laughing and snickering from cover to cover regardless.

Then there's Thud itself, a boardgame first introduced in Going Postal and which is based loosely on the Battle Of Koom Valley and seems to resemble a variation of Chess. If you're interested (or just plain mad), then you can join the Thud community and play online.

I really liked Sam's new Disorganizer Mark Five, "The Gooseberry™" since I have the unfortunate task of managing a Blackberry™ estate. Oh for a fleet of little imp inhabited handhelds instead of the gremlin infested ones we have now. Another very funny book from Mr. Pratchett!

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy.
ISBN: 0-552-15267-6
My Rating: 8/10

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