1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excretus Est Ex Altitudine
"Feet of Clay" is the nineteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series, was first published in 1996 and is the third to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard.
Sam is the now the Commander of the City Guard, and - having married Lady Ramkin - a member of the nobility. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he doesn't like...
Published on Jun 2 2007 by Craobh Rua
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so humor
When Pratchett is on, he's hilarious. Often though he goes pages without forcing as much as a chuckle, and this book is no exception. While I've heard him compared to Douglas Adams, I don't find him to measure up - still, I have yet to see anyone mix fantasy and humor as well (plus some mystery thrown in in this story). His understanding of theology seems limited,...
Published on Jan 19 1999
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excretus Est Ex Altitudine,
This review is from: Feet Of Clay (Paperback)"Feet of Clay" is the nineteenth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series, was first published in 1996 and is the third to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard.
Sam is the now the Commander of the City Guard, and - having married Lady Ramkin - a member of the nobility. It's fair to say he's not your typical hero : he doesn't like the Undead (particularly vampires), Assassins (they keep trying to kill him) and - in keeping with an old family tradition - Kings (not an ideal musketeer then). Sam has quit drinking - though it's still something of a struggle - and smokes the occasional cigar to ease the blow.
Although numbers among the ranks are rising, Sam tends to rely on those he knows best. His most capable officer is Captain Carrot - who was born human, although raised as a dwarf. Carrot is an incredibly innocent and very honest character and is widely believed to be Ankh-Morpork's rightful King. (Sam has - to date - refrained from beheading him). Carrot's girlfriend, Angua, is also a member of the City Guard though - being a werewolf - she isn't quite so popular. Sergeant Detritus, a troll who deals roughly with troll drug-dealers, seems a natural - not to mention likeable - cop, though Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs (a confirmed slacker and probably human) are the most experienced officers. The one newcomer is Cheery Littlebottom, an ex-alchimist dwarf who becomes quite useful in the City Guard's newly established forensics department. (Cheery left the Guild of Alchemists after, accidentally, blowing up the Guild Council. Alchemy is an unusual profession for a dwarf, though Cheery - as it turns out - isn't your usual dwarf).
"Feet of Clay" gives Sam a good, old-fashioned mystery to solve - a mystery that includes a couple of rather unusual murders. One of the victims is Father Tubelcek, who Sam considers to be one of the neatest corpses he's ever seen : eyes closed, arms neatly folded across his chest...and a slip of paper with some strange writing on it in his mouth. The other victim was Mr Hopkinson, curator at the Dwarf Bread Museum. Dwarf bread is much more useful on the battlefield than on the breakfast table, and Hopkinson had unfortunately been beaten to death with a loaf. There is a little white clay and a suspicion of Golems hanging around, but the murders are puzzling...however, it's difficult to focus on a puzzle, when you've also got to investigate the poisoning of the Patrician. (He's surviving, but only barely). The difficulties aren't confined to professional matters - there's even bad news for both Sam and Nobby at a personal level. Following a visit to the Royal College of Heralds, Sam learns he is ineligible for a Coat of Arms. (An ancestor, Old Stoneface, killed Ankh-Morpork's last king). To make matters even worse, news of his rejection is delivered by a vampire called Dragon King of Arms. Nobby, on the other hand, is devastated to learn he is Earl of Ankh.
Another very funny book from Pratchett, with a storyline 'underneath' it all that your standard murder-mystery writer would love to tell. Excellent stuff, highly recommended !
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding reader-actor on audio. Highly entertaining.,
This review is from: Feet of Clay (Audio CD)Thoroughly enjoyable, laugh-out-loud funny. One of Pratchett's best novels. The CD audio version read by Nigel Planer is wonderful! Nigel Planer does an excellent job of giving zany voices to the zany characters. The reading is closer to acting.
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder mystery, Discworld style,
First a priest is murdered, and found with a slip of paper in his mouth. Then a curator. And Vimes has no idea how this is happening, or why anyone would kill a couple of harmless old men. To make things worse, he learns that the extremely un-royal Corporal Nobby Nobbs may be the rightful king of Ankh-Morpork (if that doesn't warp your view of reality, nothing will), and that the Patrician is being slowly poisoned -- but no one knows just how the poison is being administered.
The answer to the mysteries may lie in the golems: Not-living-but-not-dead creatures made out of clay, who don't speak and always follow orders. Theoretically they can't kill . But they come under suspicion when, inexplicably, they start destroying themselves as the evidence starts to point toward a golem murderer. However, Vimes soon learns that the conspiracy is far more extensive -- and sinister -- than the golems...
"Feet of Clay" is not merely a murder mystery (although it has one of the coolest ways of murdering a person that I've ever heard of). Pratchett also offers some commentary on society, on what makes a person a person. His handling of the golems is remarkably thought-provoking. And their connection to the attempted murder is also very hard to unravel -- you won't guess who or how or why.
This is, in some ways, more serious at times than his other books; one scene has Vimes exploding over the death of a little child and a cleaning lady. But don't think he's abandond his skewed brand of Discworld humor: the rebelling dwarf, the unsuccessful assassination at the beginning, Nobby's outrageous behavior and seven grandmothes, and especially a vampire with self-destructive tendencies (sunglasses tester, garlic stacker, pencil factory worker, holy water supplier). Not to mention the organizer with the little imp inside.
As always, Vimes is the hard-boiled scrap of sanity among the weirder characters. Angua is, unfortunately, much flatter than the weirder characters; Carrot is his usual likable self, while Nobby gets to act more bizarrely than usual as he is accepted into the upper crust as an aristocrat (a thieving, unsanitary one). Detritus is a likable clod, and we get a new character in Cheery Littlebottom, a dwarf female who wants to start looking like one. And Pratchett outdoes himself with Dorfl, a secretive golem who never speaks or changes expression.
While not Pratchett's best, "Feet of Clay" is a solid mystery/fantasy/commentary with plenty of humor and suspense. Definitely worth looking at.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Watch returns,
Okay, the great mystery is who killed two old men, and where is this mysterious clay found at the scene of the crime coming from. Vimes and the watch struggle to solve this, and suddenly, Nobby Nobbses royalty is brought to attention, Cherry Littlebottom joins the watch, and the Angua Carrot relationship is heightened a few more steps. In the midst of all this, Lord Vetinari (a FANTASTIC character) is being poisoned. All these come together in one of the most satisfying climaxes I've witnessed in a Pratchett Book yet.
There, that's out of the way.
The Guard are among the best characters Pratchett has introduced, standing next only to... Death. And even though you don't get to see the Grim Reaper, you'll have to settle for the Grim Squeaker (the death of rats). Anyways, Pratchett, as always, delights the reader with the two most vivid main characters. I'd be speaking of Sir Samuel Vimes, and Nobby Nobbs. Vimes has so much of a Dirty Harry-esque feel to him, and he... ahem... prods buttock so thoroughly that you have to cheer him on. The cigar smoking, teetotaling commander is best portrayed in the opening pages in which a VERY foolish assassin tries to end Vimes's life. Bad move.
Onto Nobbs. Nobbs is such a fantastic character, Pratchett gives him great scenes, the best in my mind being the scene in which a few Puppetmasters are trying to get Nobby to assume his royal position. Through most of this, he is saying, "Vimes would go spare! I can't do that! He'd go spare!"
Okay, here is what I disliked about the book.
Angua is a very weak POV, personally. I understand the need for a strong anchoring character to counterbalance the nuttiness of Nobbs, Vimes, and Carrot, but Angua comes off as too whiny, and her chapters take away from the irreverance that Pratchett infuses his book with. I also felt that Vetinari should have been giving a larger role in the scheme of things, particularly around the mystery involving him. He and Vimes have an excellent scene together at the end, but that is all that really stands out.
My biggest problem, would have to be with the Dragon character. I don't want to spoil any of the plot twists revolving around him, but he is too much of a cut out, with no real idiosyncracies other than his "Ah-ha" in every sentence.
There, thats the review.
On the whole, Feet of Clay really does a great job of keeping you occupied. Its 4 stars is definitely warranted.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story a better mystery,
5.0 out of 5 stars Part 3 of the City Watch series of Discworld,
The plight of the golem in this book is very well-staged. Pratchett presents some very biting commentary on life in general and our attitudes toward different people, using the golems as a focal point. Are golems really alive? Do they constitute a race, and thus they can be discriminated against? Some of the arguments parallel the Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode "Measure of a Man," where Picard asks some of these same questions. Once you create a group of "beings," at what point do these beings become a race? Do they have a soul? Pratchett doesn't go that far, but he does present some very good points about all of this.
The character development of Carrot and Vimes continues as well. Carrott is now a captain in the Watch, and thus has authority (authority which he's always really had, due to his charisma). Vimes continues his determination to have the Watch be a respected institution as Carrot's devotion to duty continues to rub off on him. He has grown from a character wallowing in drink to forget about the Watch and his problems, to a well-rounded person who's determined to make the best of himself and watch out for his people.
The Watch has grown in size as well, with many more members. They now have a forensic alchemist (a female dwarf who has decided to start actually showing she's female), along with a gargoyle and a man who likes to distribute religious literature. Of course, there are also many more unnamed ones. Pratchett does a wonderful job of giving each of these characters three dimensions.
I didn't find this book quite as funny as the first two, but it still does have many great moments. The lessening of the humour is off-set by some great social commentary. Don't be fooled, though. This isn't a social treatise. It's a funny book that makes some good social points. And isn't that what good social commentary is all about? Read this book, but read the first two before this one. I think you'll get more enjoyment out of this one if you have the basis of the first two books. It's certainly not mandatory to understand what's going on, but it helps.
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Rocks,
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, entertaining and well, enjoyable...,
5.0 out of 5 stars A Seriously Prod Buttock Book,
This is a quintessential police procedural novel, as reflected by Pratchett's mirror, combined with a Frankenstein theme. Instead of detectives and police, we have the Night Watch. Commander Sam Vimes is a classic recovering drunk and Sergeant Colon is fat and lazy - recognizable as stock characters; but another cop is a female werewolf with pre-lunar tension, the captain is a six foot, six inch human who thinks he is a dwarf, a third is a troll and the forensics expert is an out of the closet dwarf trying to get in touch with her feminine side.
Someone has killed two old men, and someone is trying to poison the Patrician, the closest thing the city of Ankh-Morpork has to a ruler. The suspects appear to be golems, the artificial men of Hebrew mythology, but golems can't kill. Golems are the perfect slave, only able to do the things they are told, the "words in their head." And how is it that Corporal Nobby Nobbs, a constable who carries a certificate establishing he is probably human, can be the long-lost Earl of Ankh and the heir apparent to the throne?
All these plot threads and more come together in the finest Pratchett tradition, in one of his best and most satisfying conclusions. Women have their biggest roles yet in a Night Watch novel, and the complex relationship between the Patrician and Sam Vimes continues to evolve. It's only later, when you think about what happened to the golems, that you recognize the reflection of our world and the important messages Pratchett is conveying.
The humor and satire are present in abundance. The scene in which three thieves try to hold up the Night Watch's favorite bar and, worse still, try to use Constable Angua as a hostage, is simply delightful. Pratchett's skills with dialog and characterization are in fine form. But it's the messages that occur to you afterwards that make the novel truly memorable, and make this book, in Captain Carrot's phrase, "seriously prod buttock."
Great fun; highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everyone's guilty of Something" - Feet of Clay quote,
Although the backdrop theme to this book is great, its not as complicated as Fifth Elephant and is not necessarily as funny as Men at Arms. This would would get a 4 1/2 stars if such rating were possible. If you're a fan of the Guards, then don't miss this book. Its a lot better than some of Pratchett's early works. This book dealt with a lot of social politics, and the concept of "Capitalism". This book also dig deeper into the Pratritian of Ankh-Morpork. To all Guards fan, Hamlock Vetinari is still an enigma, but more on him are written in this book as a preface for Jingo. So to anyone who read this review, buy the book.
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Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - Oct 31 2005)
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