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The fifth elephant by Terry Pratchett
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The fifth elephant (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs (Narrator)

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» See also 151 mentions

English (55)  Polish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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 | Apr 14, 2015 |
Dwarves, vampires and werewolves. Oh my.

The Fifth Elephant is the 24th Discworld novel and the 5th in the Guards series. This book builds on the previous Guards novels, with knowledge from those books necessary to fully understand and appreciate the characters and their situations this time around. Also, being a Guards novel, there is a mystery to solve and Vimes is on the case! Or is that on the diplomacy?

This is a bit different than a regular Discworld novel with less quick laughs and a more complicated plot. The story follows three primary threads: Commander His Excellency Duke Samuel Vimes and his diplomatic mission to Uberwald for the coronation of a new Low King; Sergent Angua goes missing and Carrot is off to find her; Sergent Fred Colon is promoted to acting Watch Captain in their absence and just what that does to both the Watch and the City. However, where there are cops there is crime.

The book has many high points. Vimes, Sybil, Detritus, Carrot, Angua and Cherry are great as always. My absolute favorite was the addition of the Igors. What a great play on that old trope! I hope they are included in future books.

While not my favorite Watch book I still found it an enjoyable read. ( )
  Narilka | Mar 25, 2015 |
  JMlibrarian | Feb 27, 2015 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12060328
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
This is another excellent Discworld novel and it stars the City Watch, probably my favorite series within the series. In this book, Sam Vines, commander of the Watch and now a Duke, is sent to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission to see the dwarf king's coronation. He takes with him his wife, a female dwarf, a troll (always at war with dwarves), and an assassin. Also, Captain Carrot is hunting his werewolf girlfriend, leading them both to Uberwald, where they both play a major part in the plot. Along the way, Vimes meets vampires, werewolves, and of course, dwarves, with some Igors thrown in for good measure. He discovers being a diplomat is a lot harder than being a cop, and since he's a copper, he of course finds crime happening everywhere. There's a lot of action in this book, perhaps more than most Discworld books, and a lot of treachery everywhere you turn. Vimes does an excellent job of saving the day by the book's end and everything ends happily, as it should. One very funny sub-theme is Colon's taking over the City Watch while Vimes is gone and going power mad. It's priceless. I wouldn't start with this book if I were new to the Discworld novels, but it does stand on its own and can be read as such. It's a delightful book and strongly recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Dec 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (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.
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 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)

» see all 9 descriptions

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