Pratchett flexes his satirical muscles again, with the follies of war his theme. Polly Oliver has disguised herself as a boy to join the army of Borogravia, which is always at war and bursting with patriotism, though the Borogravians are often less than clear on why they are fighting. But then, as followers of a god who believes that cats, babies, and cheese are abominations, they are used to contradictions; they mostly pray to their duchess, who may be dead. Their latest war has interfered with the commerce of Ankh-Morpork, which has dispatched Sam Vimes to bring matters to a "satisfactory" conclusion. But Sam still thinks more like the city watchman he was than the duke he now is, and this confuses people. Meanwhile, Polly's regiment, the Ins-and-Outs, has become quite high-profile, what with having, it is said, a vampire, a werewolf, and an Igor in its ranks, and with capturing, quite unexpectedly, the Zlobenian prince and his soldiers, an event publicized by Ankh-Morpork newspaperman William de Worde. Anyway, they're suddenly popular in Ankh-Morpork, and they subsequently turn the war upside down, so that it doesn't end the way the propagandists would have liked. No surprise, of course, to Sam Vimes. Polly concludes that it is, on some level, all about socks. Thoroughly funny and surprisingly insightful. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"'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