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The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld by…

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

by Terry Pratchett

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6,89954525 (4.04)139
Title:The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperCollins Publishers (2000), Hardcover, 321 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (1999)

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English (49)  Polish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Kingship, rebellion, mindless, faceless working class-well, enough fantasy, put this down and get back to the real world.
  ritaer | Jul 6, 2014 |
There ought to be a way to program LibraryThing.com to automatically assign a 5 star rating to every Terry Pratchett novel I enter into my reading list. This one was notable for both a particularly heinous villain (Angua's mad brother, the appropriately named Wolfgang) and for remarkable wisdom on the part of the Low King. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Apr 9, 2014 |
A wonderful story about love, friendship, and politics ( )
  IAmAndyPieters | May 4, 2013 |
The dwarves in Uberwald are about to crown a new king - only there is trouble brewing. The King elected isn't the one that everyone thought it would be, and now the scone of stone on which he's crowned has gone missing. Co-incidentally, so has the replica scone that was in the dwarf bread museum in Ankh Morpork, which is now the largest dwarf city on the disc and had a large part to play in the election.

The city needs to send an Ambassador to Uberwald for the crowning and The patrician decided to send Vimes - not the obvious candidate, as he loathes all diplomacy and politicing as lying! Uberwald is in a state of turmoil, there's trouble between dwarves, the werewolves (who happen to be Angua's family) are interferring and the vampires are watching everything closely, prepared to lend a hand when necessary to keep the equilibrium.

Vimes tries to act the diplomat, with predictable results. But finally he stops acting and starts being the policeman he is at his core. There's trouble in all quarters, but a settlement is reached and Vimes regains his composure just in time for Sybil to drop a bit of a bombshell..." ( )
  Helenliz | Apr 1, 2013 |
More Night Watch procedurals, except this time Vimes goes on vacation! (Sort of.) I adore the Uberwald characters and setting, so Vimes vs. the werewolves totally works for me, the mystery is clever, the ruckus back home is amusing although ultimately inconsequential, and the continuing plot where the dwarves discover gender continues to be interesting. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:16 -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)

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