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5.0 out of 5 stars A lot to like
The Discworld and its denizens keep moving forward.
In particular, the much-reviled police captain Vimes and the much-honored Duke Vimes move forward. I mean, like a glacier moves forward. Not the fastest one around, I won't even warn you to get out of his way. Glacier-like, it wouldn't matter. Go ahead, get in his way - he might even notice. Probably not.
This...
Published on Sept. 14 2005 by wiredweird

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
I've adored Terry Pratchett for years. I've pressed him on practically anyone I can convince to hold still for five minutes, and I did like this one. Sam Vimes has evolved nicely during each appearance, and Pratchett can be both pointed and convulsively funny at the same time. The Fifth Elephant romps along, a giggle guaranteed every five minutes or so, and some fun at...
Published on March 27 2000 by Dianna Deeley


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5.0 out of 5 stars A lot to like, Sept. 14 2005
By 
wiredweird "wiredweird" (Earth, or somewhere nearby) - See all my reviews
The Discworld and its denizens keep moving forward.
In particular, the much-reviled police captain Vimes and the much-honored Duke Vimes move forward. I mean, like a glacier moves forward. Not the fastest one around, I won't even warn you to get out of his way. Glacier-like, it wouldn't matter. Go ahead, get in his way - he might even notice. Probably not.
This time, in his ducal capacity, he has been appointed to an ambassadorship by Lord Vetinari. Vetinari is not a bad man (by local standards, at least) and doesn't do bad things (again, by local standards). Pray that you're nowhere near when he attempts something good. It might be like lighting a candle in the darkness, with you as the match.
Or it might be like lighting the fuze on the powder-keg. Vimes isn't much the candle type. Around him are many people. There's his finishing-school wife who can finish off dwarves and lots of others, six against one, in unarmed debate. There's Officer Angua of the city watch. A very capable woman but watch out for her "monthlies". You know, new moon, howling over the heath, and and all that were-sort-of-thing. Then ... well, Angua is the predictable one. There are lots of others who aren't.
This is a long-running series with lots of character development in previous volumes. Pratchett is uncommonly well tuned to the newcomer, though. Even if the writer knows the two-dozen stories before this one (and a dozen-squared he never wrote), this story still stands well on its own. The newcomer may as well start here as anywhere. The tone is a bit more serious and less haha than most of the Discworld series, but it fits well.
Enjoy!
//wiredweird
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly the Best of Discworld, June 19 2003
By 
John Whaley (Forsyth County, GA) - See all my reviews
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For those of you who aren't familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, you have been missing quite a bit. Not only has he managed to keep the humor and overall quality of his writing at a high level through the years, but he manages to get a new book out every eight months or so. A big plus if you follow his work.
The Fifth Elephant is part the "Watch" series within the Discworld collection. It follows the exploits of Commander Vimes(recently promoted to Duke), Captain Carrot, and the rest of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. This book is the follow-up to "Jingo", and Vimes is currently adjusting to his new role as a nobleman in the city. One of his newly appointed duties is to travel to the neighboring land of Uberwald, where the dwarves are about to crown a new king. Vimes reluctantly agrees to go, despite his general loathing for the nobility in general. The ironic part being that he is now a part of that same nobility, which is a constant source of irritation for him, and a source of amusement for the reader. Of course, this being a Pratchett book, nothing goes according to plan and Vimes finds himself thwarting an assassination plot and uncovering a conspiracy among the dwarf and vampire clans in addition to being forced to "rub elbows" with the werewolves, vampires, and dwarfs of Uberwald.
This is one of the rare books you will read that is as funny as it is well written. For those of you collecting the series, this falls between Jingo and Night Watch and is my personal favorite of the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Political Disc, May 13 2002
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
The Fifth Elephant is the latest Discworld book that features the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork, a city on the Disc. The City Watch books have always been my favourite Discworld books, mainly because of the characters. There's the wonderful character of Vimes, who is head of the Watch. He's cynical but fair-minded, always thinking the worst of things, but doing his best to make the city the best it can be. Then there's Captain Carrot, a human who was raised by dwarfs and considers himself one. Even the incidental characters have wonderful moments. This fifth book in the series is probably the best since the original, "Guards, Guards." It was wonderfully funny with lots of good character bits.
In this book, Commander Vimes (a recent addition to the nobility of the city) is sent to attend the coronation of the new Dwarf "King." Vimes is new to all of this "politics" stuff, as he generally sees himself as a cop first, and a good one. He feels out of his element in this new political arena. Of course, that's why the head of the city, Patrician Vetinari, has sent him on this mission. In going to this coronation, Vimes stumbles upon a plot between a family of werewolves and some of the dwarfs who don't quite like the way society is being liberalized (i.e. dwarfs actually showing that they're female by wearing dresses and jewelry, dwarfs going to the city of Ankh-Morpork to find better lives, etc). They plan to disrupt the coronation, and Vimes finds himself having to stop them.
There are two sub plots in the book, one related, and one seeming to be there just to give some characters something to do. The first one involves Carrot and his girl-wolf, Angua. Angua was supposed to go on this mission with Vimes, but she has disappeared. Carrot enlists the aid of the talking dog, Gaspode, to track her. This plot does end up meeting with the main plot, which is a good thing. Carrot is well portrayed, a combination of innocence, grim determination and genuine (if innocent) caring for Angua. You can see in his actions what he thinks of her, even though he generally can't bring himself to say anything. It's a fairly interesting subplot, especially when it ends up dovetailing with the Vimes plot.
The same can't be said for the second subplot, though. It's clearly there just to give some of the other characters a chore. Sgt. Colon, one of the founding members of the Watch (but by no means the most intelligent), finds himself left in charge with Vimes and Carrot gone. This authority, along with a looming paranoia, start to degrade the Watch. He starts watching everybody with a growing intensity, alienating everybody. This plot has its funny moments and involves some of the other Watch characters (Shoe, the zombie; Visit, the religious fanatic; Nobby, the weird one). However, it can't help but feel like filler. I don't know whether it was intended to add to the page count or if it was supposed to give the other characters something to do. Either way, it feels wasted and tacked on.
Despite that, the book is a great addition to the mythos. It's hilarious, with wonderful character moments (a vampire on AA?) and a great plot. Unlike the previous books, there doesn't appear to be an overall message to the book (Jingo was anti-war, for example), but it doesn't suffer from that. Sometimes, you just have to tell a good story, and this one does. Watching Vimes try to adjust to his new life and mission is worth the price of admission alone. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Detritus, the main troll in the Watch. He is the best character in the series, no matter how much or little he is in it. He doesn't have a very large part in The Fifth Elephant, but he lights up the scene whenever he's in there.
This is a great book. It also stands alone pretty well. While it is certainly better to read them in order, you won't be missing anything if this is the first one. You don't want to miss it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book with excelent re-readability, May 9 2002
By 
Michael Love (Michigan, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
I've owned this book for a while and I recently re-discovered it on my bookshelf and I just could not put it down till I'd re-read it. I certainly think the book deserves a re-read or two.
This is a great Discworld book full of details of discworld.
The watch is back. Trouble in the Uberwald sends Vimes, Cherry and Detritus to the coronation of the new Dwarf King. Meanwhile Carrot and Agnes are having some problems, which leaves Sergeant Colon next in line for promotion to head of the watch....
This is a great story, full of humor, politics and plot twists. So easy to read I picked up the book and I read it without putting it down. It has more of a political tone compared with the watches last outing (Jingo), which was more of an adventure. The fifth elephant expands the disk word by padding out the dwarfs and giving incite to the Uberwald (expect more books from the Uberwald)
It's a good book if your just coming into the disk world books and a Great book if your following the disk world series
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is very Pratchetty, Nov. 29 2001
By 
Emilia Palaveeva "ema-in-seattle" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
The Fifth Elephant is Practhett at his best. For the uninitiated, the Discworld is a fantasy world, inhabited by all sorts of creatures--dwarfs, vampires, humans, etc, which all have very "human" traits. Pratchett's novels usually focus on one concept/idea which he disects in a very direct, funny way. The Fifth Elephant is about politics, diplomacy and war. Captain Vimes is sent to Uberwald (the country of the dwarves, werewolves and vampires) for the coronation of the dwarf king. He is supposed to be the ambassador of his city, Ankh-Morpork to make sure that the interests of the city and the Patrician are defended. However, someone is trying to sabotage the coronation by stealing a relic with an enormous symbolic meaning for teh dwarves. Vimes has no choice but to go back to his police work and investigate the "mystery"
In a typical Pratchett style, the novel is hilarious, yet quite serios. While Vimes and the guards are recurring character in his novels, new readers will have no problem picking the story up and enjoying it tremendously. It is a good crime novel as well.
And last but not least, it is full of briliant observations including: "He'd noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: It fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipies and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination--but at the end of the day they'd settle quite happily for egg and chips, if it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Masks of Lies Lie the Truth, Oct. 16 2001
By 
Anh Nguyen (SoCal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fifth Elephant (Hardcover)
The aford mention title of this review is probably the the closest analogy to Terry Pratchett's "The Fifth Eleplant". This is a commical advanture about the famous Ankh-Morpork's city watch with Vimes, Carrot, Angua, and of course Lady Sybil. Although I have not read some of the newer novels (waiting for the shipping) this is one of the most well developed Guards series of books. The book is enormously humourous, and the character of Vimes is very well developed in this book. In addition, most of the book is about Vimes instead of Carrot and the others. Anyone who find the character of Vimes to be very interesting, then read this book, it is a personal intro that goes deep into the exploration of Vimes. All that is Vimes is revealed here.
As for the storyline, it is typical of pratchett to turn a seemingly simple story of conspiracy, assasination, politics, and fifth elephant into an Epic journey. This is simply a musthave for anyone who is a Pratchett fan.
For those who don't know who Pratchett is, and this is your first book, then buy it. All of Terry Pratchett's book are designed to be read by good readers, and bad readers, by the young and the old, for those looking for a laught and a good story, and those looking for a highly intellectual story. On the backdrop of all of Pratchett's book there is always a few serious issues in human nature and behavior, and he theme his books on those issues brilliantly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Masks of Lies Lie the Truth, Oct. 16 2001
By 
Anh Nguyen (SoCal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fifth Elephant (Hardcover)
The aford mention title of this review is probably the the closest analogy to Terry Pratchett's "The Fifth Eleplant". This is a commical advanture about the famous Ankh-Morpork's city watch with Vimes, Carrot, Angua, and of course Lady Sybil. Although I have not read some of the newer novels (waiting for the shipping) this is one of the most well developed Guards series of books. The book is enormously humourous, and the character of Vimes is very well developed in this book. In addition, most of the book is about Vimes instead of Carrot and the others. Anyone who find the character of Vimes to be very interesting, then read this book, it is a personal intro that goes deep into the exploration of Vimes. All that is Vimes is revealed here.
As for the storyline, it is typical of pratchett to turn a seemingly simple story of conspiracy, assasination, politics, and fifth elephant into an Epic journey. This is simply a musthave for anyone who is a Pratchett fan.
For those who don't know who Pratchett is, and this is your first book, then buy it. All of Terry Pratchett's book are designed to be read by good readers, and bad readers, by the young and the old, for those looking for a laught and a good story, and those looking for a highly intellectual story. On the backdrop of all of Pratchett's book there is always a few serious issues in human nature and behavior, and he theme his books on those issues brilliantly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate in Pratchett nonsense, Aug. 30 2001
By 
F. G. Hamer "MadManxMan" (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
On the subject of writing, Terry Pratchett was once quoted as having said "I can't imagine any way one person on his own can have more fun" or something similar to that. He's been writing since he learned how to hold a pen, and has (apparently) never stopped. The Fifth Elephant is one of the classic Pratchett masterpieces. Wholly, completely, utterly, inventively insane, irreverent, witty and satirical, it shows why Pratchett is King of the genre.
If you've not yet introduced yourself to any Pratchett books, let me give you a quick history of Discworld. Pratchett's crazy world is supported by four elephants standing on the back of a giant tortoise. Once there was a fifth elephant, but it fell off the tortoise's back and crashed onto Discworld, leaving behind rich deposits of minerals and fat and the interesting philosophical question: when millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there is no one to hear it, does it, philosophically speaking, make a noise? And that's about as philosophical as Discworld ever gets..... or is it? Pratchett, in a quiet, humorous way, poses questions about, and satirizes just about any subject you can imagine. Anything from opera to the meaning of life, from local government to religion. (Oh dear, I do hope those reviewers who insist on denouncing J.K.Rowling and Philip Pullman as the anti-christ aren't reading this. They'll be chipping away at Terry Pratchett next!)
When I tell you that the famous Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-Morpork city watch, is sent to represent the city at the crowning of the new Dwarvish Low King, you won't be surprised to learn that Vimes hates politics and has no talent for diplomacy whatsoever. His idea of dealing with a diplomatic incident is to head-butt his way through it. It doesn't help that his assistants are a werewolf, a troll, and a dwarf. Meanwhile, Captain Carrot has fallen in love with Corporal Angua (also a werewolf), and a duplicate of a Dwarven artifact is stolen (a piece of stale bread).
Can't get much more ridiculous, can it! Oh yes it can. Pratchett loves the ridiculous as he gently mocks everything in sight (always with a great knowledge of and fondness for his fellow primates, even in their more foolish moments). Consider yourself well and truly ordered to GO AND BUY THIS BOOK.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vimes Rules!, Aug. 17 2001
By 
Blahblahblah (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
Pratchett's Disc World series started out as a very silly (and very funny) fantasy series in which the plot did little more than give him a setting for his Pythonesque sense of humour. However, as the series has progressed, his characters have become better developed and so have his storylines. The Rincewind stories still tend to lean towards the earlier, sillier days, but in books like the Fifth Elephant the humour has become more subtle overall (although there is still silliness and laugh-out-loud humour), and has also started to become more satirical, making fun of society and its faults and making brilliant psychological observations. The stories centering around Vimes, captain of the City Guard, have become the best series-within-a-series, especially the scenes in which he interacts with the Patrician, a character straight out of Machiavelli.
As with most Vimes stories, there is a lot of genuine suspense and a great mystery tale although the focus in this book is more on political intrigue. The book is set in Uberwald, a land straight out of old horror movies set in Europe or like the black forests of fairy tales, filled with Vampires, Werewolves and Dwarves (with the usual Pratchett twists). Not only that, but Uberwald is a land without laws where Vimes' position in the Ankh-Morpoork city guard is meaningless. We also get to learn more about Angua's (the female werewolf's) family and history as well as see some developements in her relationship with Captain Carrot.
A brilliant and highly entertaining mix of fantasy, humour, satire and suspense, this book is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!, July 20 2001
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (North-Central Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fifth Elephant (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the twenty-fourth book in Terry Pratchett's series on the Discworld--a flat world, supported on the back of four massive elephants riding on the back of a planet-sized turtle, anything hilarious can happen here, and eventually does. When Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-Morpork city watch is sent by Lord Vetinari to represent the city at the crowning of the new Dwarvish Low King, he knows something is afoot. Things begin to unravel when murders begin, a duplicate of a Dwarven artifact is stolen, Sergeant Angua disappears, Captain Carrot quits to search for her, and (worst of all) Sergeant Colon is placed in charge of the Watch. Can Sam Vimes unravel the mysteries surrounding him? And, who should he fear most, the werewolves or the vampires?
Ah, once again Terry Pratchett has reached into the ether, and brought forth another fascinating and hilarious work. As always, Terry is a master of running several storyline concurrently, and bringing the whole story together as a logical whole. I loved this book, and highly recommend it.
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The Fifth Elephant
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