The new Discworld novel Night Watch
has the power and energy that characterizes Terry Pratchett at his occasional best, as well as the wild surreal humour he always gives us. Sam Vimes, running hero of the Guards sequence, finds himself cast back in time to the Ankh-Morpork of his youth--a much nastier city, with an actively deranged Patrician and a sadistic secret police--and finding himself filling in for Keel, the tough honest copper who teaches the young Vimes everything he knows. And, more worryingly, who dies heroically in the insurrection Vimes knows to be imminent. With a psychopath from his own time rising in the vile ranks of the Cable Street Unmentionables complicating things, Vimes has to ensure that history takes its course so that he will have the right future to go back to, and to keep his younger self alive--this is Pratchett's plotting at its most thoroughly constructed and wonderfully devious. Ankh-Morpork has for a long time been one of the most thoroughly imagined cities in fantasy--here Pratchett gives us a fascinating gloomy glimpse of its past and of the younger selves of some of his best-loved characters, and of the brief-lived People's Republic of Treacle-Mine Road. --Roz Kaveney
From Publishers Weekly
British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series (The Last Hero, etc.). Pragmatic Sam Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, can't complain. He has a title, his wife is due to give birth to their first child any moment and he hasn't had to pound a beat in ages but that doesn't stop him from missing certain bits of his old life. Thank goodness there's work to be done. Vimes manages to corner a murderer, Carcer, on the library dome at Unseen University during a tremendous storm, only to be zapped back in time 30 years, to an Ankh-Morpork where the Watch is a joke, the ruling Patrician mad and the city on the verge of rebellion. Three decades earlier, a man named John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught young Sam Vimes how to be a good cop before dying in that rebellion. Unfortunately, in this version of the past, Carcer has killed Keel. The only way Vimes can hope to return home and ensure he has a future to return home to is to take on Keel's role. The author lightens Vimes's decidedly dark situation with glimpses into the origins of several of the more unique denizens of Ankh-Morpork. One comes away, as always, with the feeling that if Ankh-Morpork isn't a real place, it bloody well ought to be.
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