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Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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Thud! (2005)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (34), Discworld: City Watch (7)

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8,248121582 (4.14)218
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English (119)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
The seventh Discworld book about Commander Vimes and the City Watch. I didn’t find the central mystery quite as compelling as those of some of the previous books, but that did not matter -- I enjoyed it enormously. As excellent as Night Watch was, after a trip into the Watch’s past, I wanted to see more of the Watch’s newer members and of Sybil, and Thud! delivers just that.

Angua has to work with the Watch’s latest recruit, a vampire called Sally who has some pointed things to say.
Sybil is her delightfully level-headed, dragon-breeding self (I was just wondering whether she still bred dragons or if she had put them aside for pursuits more suited to the wife of a duke and the mother of a small child, and I'm so glad that the answer is, No, dragons are actually useful in a crisis, if you know how to make use of them. Which Sybil does).
And Vimes makes a surprisingly dedicated effort, for someone who generally seems happiest spending most of his time working, to have quality-time with his son. Story-time, no less. These scenes are funny and heartwarming and also tie into the rest of the story.

Thud! is thoughtful, quotable and it made me laugh a lot.

Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing. If only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves. ( )
  Herenya | Jun 27, 2018 |
Thud is unusual but also only an averagely good Terry Pratchett book by his standards, complimented by a spin-off board game. Is Koom Valley, the core of the story, a geographical place or has it become a concept in the mind? What is Koom Valley is a question along the same lines as What is Calvary, a basic hill or a fate or the concept of a stage before redemption that anyone can go through? I can’t be sure whether the Discworld board game (dwarves against trolls) inspired this book or if the book inspired the board game but the game is in parody (not tactical simplification) of the ancient battle described in the book and the book describes the game as if it exists already and which side usually wins, so vice versa. A children’s book called Where’s My Cow? appears to be a secondary spin-off commercialisation of this same novel. Talk about cashing in. In other words, it’s another piece of the convoluted and self-referencing Discworld series. The plot concerns an ancient battleground about which it’s not known for sure whether the dwarves ambushed the trolls or perhaps it was the trolls who ambushed the dwarves. The dwarves and trolls have their own opposing theories, in which they are both the respective victims and that’s why they can never get along, why the feud will never be settled. They get drunk and re-enact their prejudices, which isn’t against the law. This time though there’s been a murder, which is of official interest but who wants to get in the middle of a dwarf/troll argument? Step forth the author’s favourite character, Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch, a kind of grizzled detective, balancing his own light and darkness of the soul. Pratchett explores in this a parable that could fit into our world, as seen through the distorted lens of fantasy. The humanist message we’re supposed to pick up is that sectarian violence is pointless and leaves no winners. Most of us have a Koom Valley deep within the psyche. It’s often an historical event, usually a piece of ancient craziness or national injustice, which helps to define our identity, a beacon for the disaffected and anchor of tribal identity that we need to feel safe. We weren’t there but do take it personally and will teach the next generation to carry it on. Of course, things rumble on. The Cranberries summed it up with “In your head, they’re still fighting”. George Orwell studied the motivations of socialist intellectuals much like himself and he concluded that if you set aside the words they say, it’s easy to see they don’t actually like the poor and don’t want to help them; they just hate the rich. It’s the psyche gone primal again. So the leaders of both sides say it’s all fun and everyone’s gone mild and reasonable after the long years, in much the same way that diamonds are squishy. Can anyone really win now? Pratchett thinks so and, against the odds and entrenched personalities, there’s hope of reconciliation. I wouldn’t pin much hope on that but this is a fantasy. Thud is a thought-provoking book, but isn’t outrageous fun, just fantasy delivering rationality, a sweetened pill to encourage the reader to re-evaluate whatever they secretly hate but won’t admit to. It says Thud on the cover. You weren’t expecting it to be light? ( )
  HavingFaith | May 29, 2018 |
This one was very mixed, good troll and dwarf stuff, but the whole "Vimes has to be home by 6 to tell the story" bit was overplayed and boring. And so was the Angua and Sally cattiness. ( )
  gabarito | May 13, 2018 |
Always enjoy a good Sam Vines mystery ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
What fantasy can do that realism can't: show the incremental ways that prejudice can be eroded step by step, first with proximity that breeds tolerance, then grudging recognition, then finally identification...by removing us from our familiar context. Pratchett shows something as simple as a board game undermining dangerous fundamentalist beliefs about good and evil and doubts about whether "those people" are really (sic) human.
All in a highly entertaining tale that cannot be summarized without sounding dangerously absurd. With dwarf opera and pork futures. ( )
1 vote elizaforest | Feb 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Him who mountain crush him no
Him who sun him stop him no
Him who hammer him break him no
Him who fire him fear him no
Him who raise him head above him heart
Him diamond

- Translation of troll pictograms found carved on a basalt slab in the deepest level of the Ankh-Morpork treacle mines, in pig-treacle measures estimated at 500,000 years old.
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The first thing Tak did, he wrote himself.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago.

But if he doesn’t solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office.

With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him.

Oh . . . and at six o’clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read ‘Where’s My Cow?’, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy.

There are some things you have to do.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060815310, Mass Market Paperback)

Once, in a gods-forsaken hellhole called Koom Valley, trolls and dwarfs met in bloody combat. Centuries later, each species still views the other with simmering animosity. Lately, the influential dwarf, Grag Hamcrusher, has been fomenting unrest among Ankh-Morpork's more diminutive citizens—a volatile situation made far worse when the pint-size provocateur is discovered bashed to death . . . with a troll club lying conveniently nearby.

Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch is aware of the importance of solving the Hamcrusher homicide without delay. (Vimes's second most-pressing responsibility, in fact, next to always being home at six p.m. sharp to read Where's My Cow? to Sam, Jr.) But more than one corpse is waiting for Vimes in the eerie, summoning darkness of a labyrinthine mine network being secretly excavated beneath Ankh-Morpork's streets. And the deadly puzzle is pulling him deep into the muck and mire of superstition, hatred, and fear—and perhaps all the way to Koom Valley itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Once, in a gods-forsaken hellhole called Koom Valley, trolls and dwarfs met in bloody combat. Centuries later, each species still views the other with simmering animosity. Lately, the influential dwarf, Grag Hamcrusher, has been fomenting unrest among Ankh-Morpork's more diminutive citizens--a volatile situation made far worse when the pint-size provocateur is discovered bashed to death ... with a troll club lying conveniently nearby. Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch is aware of the importance of solving the Hamcrusher homicide without delay. (Vimes's second most-pressing responsibility, in fact, next to always being home at six p.m. sharp to read Where's My Cow? to Sam, Jr.) But more than one corpse is waiting for Vimes in the eerie, summoning darkness of a labyrinthine mine network being secretly excavated beneath Ankh-Morpork's streets. And the deadly puzzle is pulling him deep into the muck and mire of superstition, hatred, and fear--and perhaps all the way to Koom Valley itself.… (more)

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