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The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
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The Fifth Elephant (original 1999; edition 2002)

by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs, Stephen Briggs (Introduction)

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8,12484661 (4.05)196
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 civilisation 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. Sam Vimes is out of time, out of luck, and already out of breath...… (more)
Member:joeeasterly
Title:The Fifth Elephant
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Other authors:Stephen Briggs, Stephen Briggs (Introduction)
Info:Methuen Publishing Limited, Great Britain (2002), Paperback, 108 pages
Collections:Fiction & Literature, eBooks
Rating:
Tags:comic fantasy

Work details

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (1999)

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» See also 196 mentions

English (76)  German (3)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Fun, but not as clever as Pratchett's best.

> He always suspected the poetic description of Time like an ever-rolling stream. Time, in his experience, moved more like rocks…sliding, pressing, building up force underground and then, with one jerk that shakes the crockery, a whole field of turnips has mysteriously slipped sideways by six feet.

> "And what are you calling it?" "Oh, you know me and names, my lord. I think of it as the Engine for the Neutralizing of Information by the Generation of Miasmic Alphabets"

> There had once been five elephants, not four, standing on the back of Great A'Tuin, but one had lost its footing or had been shaken loose and had drifted off into a curved orbit before eventually crashing down, a billion tons of enraged pachyderm, with a force that had rocked the entire world and split it up into the continents people knew today

> he was so far out of his depth that the fish had lights on their noses

> And now he was dangling halfway up a freezing shaft, with a few inches of old and unreliable wood between him and a brief trip to the next world. All he could hope for was that his whole life wasn't going to pass before his eyes. There were some bits of it he didn't want to remember.

> He pushed his luck. It was clearly too weak to move by itself. ( )
  breic | Jan 6, 2020 |
There are a few Discworld books that feel overly forced. I am sad to note that this is one of them. I do so love Pratchett. When he has it, he really has it going on. The morals are fine, the tale is good, yet the whole thing feels too heavy-handed. :( ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
The Discworld City Watch visits a country of dwarfs, werewolves and vampires.

3/4 (Good).

There's genuinely exciting action/adventure in here, if you ignore the fact that it's meant to be parody (It's rarely funny.). And there's some world-building, and memorable little character moments. (Although, there's also a B story focusing on Sgt. Colon that does not work at all.) I wonder with this one if Pratchett wouldn't have been a much better writer if he hadn't had the expectation to be silly all the time. ( )
  comfypants | Oct 3, 2019 |
A standard Sam Vimes novel, neither better nor worse than most of the others. ( )
  Stravaiger64 | Aug 18, 2019 |
Vimes reluctantly plays the part of ambassador to a land filled with werewolves, vampires, and dwarfs with a tricky coronation coming up. Tact isn't his strong suit, but he does what he does best, solves the mystery of the stolen ancient bread.
Another fun read in the Discworld. Still not my favorite series ever, but also still a comfy read. ( )
  electrascaife | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (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
Pratchett, Terryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary 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.
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