on May 4, 2015
Excellent in every respect! Excellent vendor, would happily shop with again, excellent Pratchett as always!
on July 23, 2013
Great book, just as good as Guards Guards! and enough to convince me to read the rest of the Discworld series, assuming I live that long :)
For anyone that doesn't know this is the second book in the Night's Watch series, Guards! Guards! is the first and Feet Of Clay is the third.
In this Discworld instalment we return to The Watch, Captain Vimes, Corporal Carrot, and a host of other familiar and new characters.
As always Pratchett demonstrates his ease as a story-teller, married closely to wit, madcap humour and endearing moments. While not as many outright guffaws in this yarn about gun (or gonne) control, multiculturalism and destiny, certainly there is an abundance of escapism, heroism and whodunnits.
on February 12, 2013
I love Pratchett. I love the all the stories of the Watch and along with NIght Watch this is my favourite about them all. Before Cuddy dies and with the twist on Carrot being King.
on January 23, 2007
"Men at Arms" is the fifteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and the second to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard. Although its reputation may have raised very slightly, having rescused the City from a large and angry dragon, it's still not the fine and noble profession it once was.
Sam is the Captain of the Night Watch, though he is on the verge of retiring and will soon marry Lady Ramkin, the noted dragon-fancier. It isn't entirely clear, however, whether or not he's entirely happy about either the retirement or his impending life of marital bliss. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he hates the Undead (some of my best friends are werewolves), Assassins (a perfectly respectable profession) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). Sam's also trying to quit drinking and has taken up smoking cigars to soften the blow.
The Night Watch has had a couple of new recruits since "Guards! Guards!" - largely at the insistence if the Patrician, the city's ruler. The recruits - Lance-Constables Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) and Angua (a woman, for most of the month) - have been selected to reflect Ankh-Morpork's `ethnic makeup'. Although Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs are Sam's most experienced officers, the most capable is Carrot. Although born human, Carrot was raised as a dwarf and is an incredibly innocent character - he still hasn't figured out what seamstresses do for a living. He has, however, figured out how Ankh-Morpork works and has stopped trying to arrest the President of the Thieves Guild. The trouble begins when Edward d'Eath suspects that Carrot may be the rightful king of Ankh-Morpork.
Edward is the latest Lord d'Eath, albeit a very poor one, following the recent death of his father. He was educated at the Guild of Assassins, where he became the first student to gain full marks at postgraduate level. His suspicions about Carrot are a little worrying, given that he wants to restore the monarchy. This will, of course, see the Patrician `removed' from office - something that should be easier now that he has acquired a weapon that shouldn't exist.
Pratchett's books are always very funny and this one is no exception. Despite being the second book to focus on the Night Watch, there's no real requirement to have read the first - the newcomer won't feel `left out'. (However, I would recommend reading it, all the same !). Another big plus is Gaspode, Ankh-Morporks finest talking dog. Like Carrot, he's also devoted to Angua - though he's a lot less innocent ! Definitely recommended.
Men at Arms reunites us with the stalwart defenders of our beloved Ankh-Morpork: the Night Watch. Along the way we also meet up with some of the Discworld's most distinctive secondary characters (including Foul Ole Ron and Big Fido), get a glimpse of affirmative action Ankh-Morpork-style, discover the identity of the rightful king (if Ankh-Morpork still had a king, which it doesn't, which isn't the fault of the shady characters in this book trying to replace the Patrician with the aforementioned heir to the throne, who doesn't want the job anyway), converse once more with Gaspode the talking dog, and - if that's not enough - make ready for the wedding of the year between Captain Samuel Vimes of the Night Watch and Lady Sybil Ramkin, proprietor of the Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons and the richest woman in Ankh-Morpork. Captain Vimes is in fact retiring from the Watch, but his retirement involves much more than the traditional gift watch presentation from his men. A washed-up aristocrat named Edward D'eath takes it upon himself to restore the long-lost monarchy, a circumstance that can only come about over the Patrician's dead body. Even clowns aren't safe from this deadly conspiracy.
The trouble begins with an explosion and robbery at the Guild of Assassins. Someone has stolen nothing less than the only "gonne" on Discworld, and a series of murders shock the town. OK, nothing's really going to shock the people of Ankh-Morpork, but the fact that people keep turning up full of holes where guts should be definitely stirs up the Watchmen. The Patrician is also less than happy about things, so he makes sure the Watch gets to the bottom of things by forbidding Captain Vimes to investigate. The Watch itself is growing; thanks to some new laws pushed through by the Silicon Anti-Defamation League, it has ethnically balanced itself with the addition of a dwarf, a troll, and a woman to the force. The woman, Angua, also happens to be a werewolf, and I don't have to tell you that dwarfs and trolls are natural enemies. Luckily, Constable Carrot, the 6'6" dwarf (he was adopted, you know) who is just so doggoned nice that people will actually listen to him and do as he requests, is there to keep the Watch united and performing its duty the way Carrot (alone) thinks it should be done. After a dwarf is killed and a troll arrested by the Day Watch (on the basis that any troll is surely guilty of something), there's an ever-present danger that the city's trolls and dwarfs will have a go at each other (and it won't be like last time, when both groups somehow managed to ambush one another at the same time).
Constable Detritus really steals the show here. Watching a troll think is always entertaining, but Detritus really comes into his own as this story progresses. At first, he can't salute without knocking himself out, but by the end he's recruiting and training fellow trolls (in his own endearing way) and warming up quite well to his dwarf partner. He also manages to show us that, in the right conditions (such as the kind of very cold temperature you find in a pork futures market), trolls can be brilliant thinkers.
People always die in Discworld novels, but there was one death in Men at Arms that really took me by surprise. A bit sad, it was. Don't be sad about Captain Vimes leaving the Night Watch, though. Furthermore, don't worry about the future of the City Guard, as it does not fall into the hands of Sergeant Colon or Corporal Nobbs (who, as we all know, has already been disqualified from the human race for shoving). I'm sure the men and women and dwarfs and trolls and werewolf of the Night Watch will be as ready as ever for the next threat that rears its ugly head in Ankh-Morpork; after all, Carrot's still on the job.
on February 25, 2003
This book is one my favorite and, I believe, one of the best of Pratchett's Discworld Series. I can say it in one word: Carrot! He is one of my favorite heroes on the Discworld (only Rincewind and Nanny Ogg compare with Death a close third). As usual, Carrot comes through with flying colors. There are just so many interesting things in this book: the plot about the "gonne," Leonard de Quirm (and the way he acts with the Patrician), Cuddy the dwarf and Detritus the troll, the silly guildsand their ridiculous presidents, Carrot and Angua, I could just go on.
Especially good was the troll-dwarf issue, the way they had to work together to interview the guilds without making complete fools of themselves and just basically get along. Also, it is funny how intelligent trolls get in low temperatures.
The plot alos makes for a nice mystery story. Pratchett really worked on this one. We start out with a 4-man watch and end up with one over 60 people! The Watch really grows up and will add many laughs to future stories. One of the best: a must read.
on June 11, 2002
Meet Carrot, Angua, Vimes and the other watchmen in their debut performance as they leap into the Discworld. This is the first of the "Vimes" stories, so it is important for a basic knowledge of people you`ll be seeing a lot more of(depending on the humour of old man Pratchett). It`s no less funny than the others, while at the same time introducing detective work into the series as Vimes and his crew bumble along on a sinister case. They are, after all, policemen(no offense to policemen in general). Read it and love it. It`s different, but at least as good as the other Rincewind and Death books.
on April 6, 2002
This is the greatest Discworld book there is!...You have to read it!... (it has that special touch only Terry Pratchett can do...)
on January 4, 2002
As can be seen from my review of it, I thought Guards Guards! was a marvelously funny book, and a great homage to the guards in most movies and books who have a very thankless job. Men at Arms, though, surpasses even that.
First of all, the ranks of the City Watch are expanded, with Detritus -DON'T SALUTE, the Troll, Cuddy, the Dwarf, and Angua, a woman who's not all she appears to be. Dwarves and Trolls don't get along, which provides the meat to some very funny scenes between Detritus and Cuddy, including a great scene where Cuddy is teaching Detritus how to count. There are even more jokes in this one then there were in Guards Guards (or at least, I laughed at more of them).
Captain Vimes is retiring in a few days, which doesn't give the watch much time to figure out who's responsible for all the strange murders happening. Never fear, though, Corporal Carrot is here! The character development in this book makes this so much more than just a funny fantasy. Vimes is really starting to second guess his life. Carrot is maturing greatly, even if he still is plain, simple Carrot. Even Nobbs and Colon grow as characters.
In Vimes, you see a character agonizing over who he is and what he is becoming. He's not sure he wants to live the life that's staring him in the face. Yet he's still the take-charge guy he became in the first book. He's the emotional centre of the book and while he's not always involved, his presence is always being felt.
All of this sounds dreadfully serious, but it's wrapped in a plot that goes from one hilarious event to another. There were three or four straight pages where I couldn't stop laughing as I read, and every other page had a treat (I just managed to stifle the laughter in order to not disturb my wife's sleep). The mix of comedy and character development is made perfectly. If you have no interest in serious stuff, you can ignore that aspect of the book and just revel in the jokes.
I'm moving on to Feet of Clay now, and I'm optimistic. Pratchett hasn't missed with me so far. Do yourself a favour and try this series.