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Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
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Night Watch (2002)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (29), Discworld: City Watch (6)

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7,97895408 (4.39)332
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English (86)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Tagalog (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
When I’m asked what my favorite book is, I say that it’s Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch. It’s hard for me to say why exactly this is. Possibly it’s because Night Watch is the darkest Discworld novel. Possibly it’s because Night Watch is so focused on my favorite character of all time, Sam Vimes. Possibly it’s because even at the darkest points, Night Watch retains a sense of humanity and warmth. Truly, this is an excellent book.

However, I would not go into Night Watch blind. It’s the sixth book following Vimes, and I think you really need to have read the others, particularly The Fifth Elephant, to follow along with Vimes character arc. Night Watch works best if you already know Vimes coming in. If you’re new to Discworld, I would point you towards Guards! Guards! to start with.

Samuel Vimes has been raised to the rank of Duke. He’s commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and he’s shaped them into a modern and powerful police force. He’s married to a woman he loves, and she’s about to give birth to their first child. He has pretty much everything he could want from life.

Then the hot pursuit of a murder over the domed library of the Unseen University, the premier institute of magic on the Disc, and a freak lightening bolt sends Vimes thirty years into the past to the eve of a fabled street rebellion.

“But here’s some advice, boy. Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That’s why they’re called revolutions.”

However, he’s not alone. The murderer he was chasing, Carcer, was sent back too. And Carcer’s already changed history by killing Sergeant John Keel, the man who taught Vimes everything he knows about being a good policeman. Vimes will have to step into Keel’s place to make sure that history goes according to plan.

As the street rebellion draws closer, Vimes has a choice. He can keep to the track of history and ensure his own future, or he can try desperately to save the people around him even if it costs him everything.

One thing I love about Night Watch is the cynicism surrounding war and revolutions. It strips the glory from them and shows that sometimes people die and accomplish nothing at all.

“When he was a boy he’d read books about great military campaigns, and visited the museums and looked with patriotic pride at the paintings of famous cavalry charges, last stands and glorious victories. It had come as rather a shock, when he later began to participate in some of these, to find that the painters had unaccountably left out the intestines. Perhaps they just weren’t very good at them.”

Night Watch is a book of shadows, both on the streets and within ourselves. Yet what makes it so powerful is the idea that we can resist the darkness, that we can choose to go against it.

“But…well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I’m pretty sure that whatever happens we won’t have found Freedom, and there won’t be a whole lot of Justice, and I’m damn sure we won’t have found Truth. But it’s just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.”

I would recommend Night Watch to everyone.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Jul 14, 2015 |
What a wonderful read! Stephen Briggs does a wonderful job. I just finished this and am ready to start at the beginning and hear it again. I look forward to listening a second time with Heath. Terry Pratchett is such a genius with language. There is so much here that I'm sure I missed some while I was laughing. ( )
  njcur | Jun 6, 2015 |
One of the best Discworld imo. Despite all the war and politics and intrigue I found it easier to follow than most others. And I was able to see 'the big picture' of Pratchett's theme & vision better than in most others. And it was neat to see Vimes, Nobby, Colon, and Vetinari as youngsters, starting out their careers.

I loved this: "Vimes had spent his life on the streets and had met decent men, and fools, and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar, and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People."

Exemplary. Makes a wonderful point about reality vs idealism, and about humanity and humans, pokes at politicians, and is both serious and clever at the same time. That's why Pratchett is worth reading, unto at least the 31st book.*

Another: [Our heroes' turf] "lacked all the big, important buildings... government offices, banks,... civic architecture. All it had was the unimportant stuff. It had the entire slaughterhouse district, and the butter market, and the cheese market... [they were being starved of important things like government..." Even I can make out the sarcasm of that comparison!

And [Sometimes those in power should abdicate] "to spend more time with their family in case they ended up spending it with their ancestors." Um, yeah, good idea.


*As I've said in other reviews of Discworld books, the first one I ever read was [b:Going Postal|64222|Going Postal (Discworld, #33)|Terry Pratchett|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170621674s/64222.jpg|1636617]. I was hooked, and now I'm struggling to get caught up to that point in the series from the start. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
It's got old Vimes, young Vimes and naked Vimes. What more could you possibly want? A hard-boiled egg? You get that, too. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12060365
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
A fine place to start reading Pratchett if you don't mind a few ''in'' jokes, ''Night Watch'' transcends standard genre fare with its sheer schoolboy humor and characters who reject their own stereotypes.
 
What makes the book intriguing is Pratchett's Chestertonian common-sense morality. While his blunt logic doesn't always equip him to deal with the niceties (at one point, he seems to argue against any controls on gun ownership), it allows him to break through liberal confusions and conservative certainties.
added by melmore | editThe Independent, Robert Hank (Nov 29, 2002)
 
Not a side-splitter this time, though broadly amusing and bubbling with wit and wisdom: both an excellent story and a tribute to beat cops everywhere, doing their hair-raising jobs with quiet courage and determination.
added by melmore | editKirkus Review (Nov 12, 2002)
 
Stories both trap people in a continuum and console them with images of beginnings and ends. Pratchett is a master storyteller.
added by Shortride | editThe Guardian, A. S. Byatt (Nov 9, 2002)
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orosz, IstvanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Czech Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Noční hlídka (o ní pro ni)
First words
Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it.
Quotations
"When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend."

-- Detritus learns about weapons safety (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
"Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes."

-- (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
'It's not me, you understand,' said Vimes, 'but if I went back
and showed my captain this piece of paper and he said to me,
Vi- Keel, how d'you know he's Henry the Hamster, well, I'd be a
bit... flummoxed. Maybe even perplexed.'

-- (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
Maybe the best way to build a bright new world is to peel some spuds in this one.
'One's got a lot of holes in his feet, one dropped through the privy roof and has got a twisted leg, and one's dead.'

'I don't think I can do much about the dead one' said the doctor. 'How do you know he's dead? I realize I might regret asking that question.'

'He's got a broken neck from falling off a roof and I reckon he fell off because he got a steel crossbow bolt in his brain.'

'Ah. That sounds like dead, if you want my medical opinion.'

(Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all.

But now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck...

Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past is incredibly easy. But he must survive, because he has a job to do. He must track down a murderer, teach his younger self how to be a good copper and change the outcome of a bloody rebellion.

There's a problem: if he wins, he's got no wife, no child, no future...

A Discworld Tale of One City, with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen and other children of the revolution.

Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a Hard-boiled Egg!
Haiku summary
When the lilacs bloom,
Vimes must do it all again.
Can he do it right?

(espadrile)

No descriptions found.

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One moment City Watch Commander Sam Vimes is fighting a ruthless murderer. The next, he's thrown back 30 years in time when the Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork is on the brink of revolt.

» see all 10 descriptions

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