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The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld by…
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The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Terry Pratchett

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7,35170477 (4.04)163
Member:msbhaven
Title:The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperCollins Publishers (2000), Hardcover, 321 pages
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The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (1999)

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English (64)  German (2)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
With Ankh-Morpork’s trade with Uberwald in possible danger Lord Ventari sends his most reliable diplomat and expert in political intrigue, Sam Vimes. The Commander of Ankh-Morpork’s Watch finds himself in a potential international incident with interspecies disputes and conspiracies mixed in with the fabulous riches of The Fifth Elephant mines in this installment of Terry Pratchett’s fantastic Discworld series.

Uberwald is a mineral rich principality governed over by dwarfs, werewolves, and vampires in an uneasy peace with one another and amongst their own species then add to this mix Sam Vimes as ambassador from Ankh-Morpork to coronation of the new dwarf king. Vimes’ diplomatic style and his natural detective instincts strain international, as well as interspecies, relations as the copper investigates a robbery and murder in Ankh-Morpork connected to events in Uberwald. But as Vimes works out a conspiracy in Uberwald he’s faces Angua’s own family, the reigning werewolf barony and they aren’t particularly a close family. And as events unfold, Colon and Nobby are left in charge of the Watch in Ankh-Morpork resulting in crime disappearing from the city as every criminal fears what will happen once Vimes returns to the mess.

Unlike the majority of his previous installments, Pratchett built this book around a plot and threw in some gags that never got tired out because they weren’t the focus. For the first time, a Discworld book seemed more in the fantasy genre—leaning a lot towards adventure—than the humor genre. This change of approach was both a surprise and a welcome to a series now on its 24th book, especially as it was a part of the Watch subseries which benefited with a more structured approach to the book. The Fifth Elephant was fun to read and a book I’m looking forward to rereading in the future. ( )
  mattries37315 | Sep 9, 2016 |
Another Pratchett gem. ( )
  Katya0133 | Aug 1, 2016 |
". . . Terry Pratchett's latest installment in the Discworld cycle, this time starring dwarfs, diplomacy, intrigue and big lumps of fat."
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Jul 6, 2016 |
Sir Samuel Vines, Commander of the Night Watch, Duke of Ankh-Morpork, has been appointed ambassador to Überwald, the Discworld equivalent of Transylvania, for the coronation of the Low King of the Dwarfs.

The usual fun and games with vampires, werewolves, Igors, dwarfs, and the multi-species members of the Watch. I must admit I stumbled every time I read "the Scone of Stone", the throne on which the Low King must be crowned.

Unfortunately the ebook version I got was marred by bad formatting so it was impossible to tell where I was in the book. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jun 11, 2016 |
Maybe 3.5 stars. Pretty good - imo one of the better Discworld novels. Until the convolutions at the end, the adventures were sufficiently straightforward (for me). Lots of little quotable gems of philosophy. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Trying to summarize the plot of a Pratchett novel is like describing "Hamlet" as a play about a troubled guy with an Oedipus complex and a murderous uncle. Pratchett isn't Shakespeare -- for one thing, he's funnier -- but his books are richly textured, as the pundits say, and far more complex than they appear at first. You don't have to be familiar with folklore, Leonardo da Vinci and Capability Brown, the history of religion, "Macbeth" and Laurel and Hardy to appreciate them, but if you aren't, you will miss some of the in-jokes. Just consider yourself grabbed by the collar, with me shouting, "You've got to read this book!"
added by Shortride | editThe Washington Post, Barbara Mertz (pay site) (Apr 2, 2000)
 

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RobinAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazzone, PhilipDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[None]
Dedication
Many thanks to Peter Bleackley for his help with the dwarf opera Bloodaxe and Ironhammer, which was probably a lot better in his version (and had a lot more songs about gold).
First words
They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.

They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances.*

They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.

*Not rock and iron in their dead form, as they are now, but living rock and iron. The dwarfs have quite an inventive mythology about minerals.
Quotations
Sam Vimes could parallel process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases such as "and they can deliver it tomorrow" or "so I've invited them for dinner?" or "they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply."
He wasn't strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)
A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
SAM VIMES IS A MAN ON THE RUN. YESTERDAY HE WAS A DUKE, A CHIEF OF POLICE AND THE AMBASSADOR TO THE MYSTERIOUS FAT-RICH COUNTRY OF UBERWALD.

Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya (don't ask). It's snowing. It's freezing. And if he can't make it through the forest to civilization there's going to be a terrible war.

But there are monsters on his trail. They're bright. They're fast. They're werewolves - and they're catching up.

The Fifth Elephant is Terry Pratchett's latest installment in the Discworld cycle, this time starring dwarfs, diplomacy, intrigue and big lumps of fat.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061020400, Mass Market Paperback)

Terry Pratchett has a seemingly endless capacity for generating inventively comic novels about the Discworld and its inhabitants, but there is in the hearts of most of his admirers a particular place for those novels that feature the hard-bitten captain of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Samuel Vimes. Sent as ambassador to the Northern principality of Uberwald where they mine gold, iron, and fat--but never silver--he is caught up in an uneasy truce between dwarfs, werewolves, and vampires in the theft of the Scone of Stone (a particularly important piece of dwarf bread) and in the old werewolf custom of giving humans a short start in the hunt and then cheating.

Pratchett is always at his best when the comedy is combined with a real sense of jeopardy that even favorite characters might be hurt if there was a good joke in it. As always, the most unlikely things crop up as the subjects of gags--Chekhov, grand opera, the Caine Mutiny--and as always there are remorselessly funny gags about the inevitability of story:

They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.

No one actually saw it land, which raised 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?

As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it.

All this, the usual guest appearances, and Gaspode the Wonder Dog. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Everyone knows that the world is flat, and supported on the backs of four elephants. But weren't there supposed to be five? Indeed there were. So where is it? When duty calls, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork constabulary answers. Even when he doesn't want to. He's been "invited" to attend a royal function as both detective and diplomat. The one role he relishes; the other requires, well, ruby tights. Of course where cops (even those clad in tights) go, alas, crime follows. An attempted assassination and a theft soon lead to a desperate chase from the low halls of Discworld royalty to the legendary fat mines of Uberwald, where lard is found in underground seams along with tusks and teeth and other precious ivory artifacts. It's up to the dauntless Vimes-bothered as usual by a familiar cast of Discworld inhabitants (you know, trolls, dwarfs, werewolves, vampires and such) to solve the puzzle of the missing pachyderm. Which of course he does. After all, solving mysteries is his job.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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