From Publishers Weekly
Ankh-Morpork's City Watch Commander, Sam Vimes, stars in the latest entry in Pratchett's popular Discworld series (Going Postal
, etc.). "Thud" is the sound that commences the novel, as a dwarf is bludgeoned to death; it's also the name of a chesslike match that recreates the battle of Koom Valley, a long-ago fight between trolls and dwarfs. As the anniversary of the battle approaches, ancient politics and the present-day murder cause tensions between the trolls and dwarfs to boil. Though Koom Valley was a disaster for both sides, certain community leaders from each side have been spoiling for a rematch—something Vimes is duty-bound to prevent. In the midst of this, a push toward affirmative action forces Vimes to hire a vampire named Sally to the Watch. She's sworn off human blood, but that's cold comfort to the assortment of humans, dwarfs, trolls, werewolves and golems that make up the police force. Vimes and his motley crew of coppers are called upon to not only find the murderer and keep the peace but also, in a jab at The Da Vinci Code
, solve the riddle of a painting that reputedly holds the secret to what really happened at Koom Valley. Pratchett's fantastic imagination and satirical wit are on full display.
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Unwilling to get caught up in the fact that he is the duke of Ankh-Morpork, Commander Vimes still shaves himself and runs the Watch as well as he can. Lord Veternari forces him to get involved in politics, though, because the Watch is incurring serious expense as it grows, and because his multicultural efforts have forced him to hire a vampire as a member of the Watch. Vimes has a lot on his plate, anyway, what with the upcoming anniversary of Koom Valley (a battle between trolls and dwarves that is part of an age-old war), an unsolved murder that reveals the limitations of the Watch in dwarfish eyes, and the theft of a valuable painting from the Royal Art Museum. On top of everything he does as part of his job, he must make it home at six o'clock on the dot every day to read to his young son. Everything is connected, of course--even Sally, the vampire taken on by the Watch. Unsettling secrets are revealed about the true history of Koom Valley, and in a basement in the city, dwarves and trolls are playing the game Thud!, a miniature battle of Koom Valley, together. As always, Pratchett's latest Discworld yarn is funny, fast-paced, the kind of satire that explores serious issues while making readers love it. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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