This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

The Fifth Elephant (1999)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (24), Discworld: City Watch (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,91382633 (4.05)180
Recently added bytldegray, ddrucker, Devilstorment, Ely.sium, katemaree, books_cats_tea, private library, shi.sa

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 180 mentions

English (73)  German (3)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
There are not words enough to say how wonderful Terry Pratchett's writing is. This is a marvelous reading by Stephen Briggs, by far my favorite narrator of these books. The language is sublime, the whole this is hilarious, and yet he is able to bring tears to my eyes in certain touching moments. How does he do it?!? Truly a terrific read! ( )
  njcur | Aug 28, 2018 |
Gaspode! ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
This one took me awhile to get through, but I think the fault was more mine than the book's. ( )
  gabarito | May 13, 2018 |
The Fifth Elephant has a different narrator to the previous Watch books and at first I was worried that was going to prevent me from enjoying it. Even though, all things considered, Briggs has a similar-sounding voice to Planer, he gives a couple of characters such different accents that I had trouble seeing them the same way -- it felt as if they had been recast or replaced by impostors.

Fortunately, the change in narrators became less jarring as the story progressed. It helped that Briggs’ voice for Vimes wasn’t one of the ones I had an issue with, and that this is a fairly Vimes-centric story, perhaps even to the point of being more of a Samuel Vimes book than a City Watch book. Which I don’t have an issue with!

Vimes is sent as Ankh-Morpork’s ambassador to Uberwald for the coronation of the dwarf king. And of course things go wrong, in an expectedly-unexpected fashion. I enjoyed this one more than Jingo.

“We… just heard there was some problem,” she said.
“Oh, well… a new king, a coronation to organise… A few problems are bound to occur,” he said. Well, he thought, so
this is diplomacy. It’s like lying, only to a better class of people. ( )
  Herenya | Apr 10, 2018 |
The Fifth Elephant - Pratchett
Audio performance by Steven Briggs
4 stars

Trolls, werewolves, vampires, dwarves of undetermined gender, and Sam Vines. Now that I’ve definitely discovered Discworld, I don’t want to leave it. This one did get a bit tedious with too many werewolf chases through the snow. But, Gaspode, the scrappy talking terrier, is my currently favorite character. Also, it’s wonderful how many completely true statements Pratchett could cram into a silly fantasy.
”A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.”
“You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was ‘But we’ve always done it this way.’ A million dead people can’t have been wrong, can they?”

And the Fifth Elephant? The fifth elephant is an important part of the Discworld creation story. It’s a story, and naturally, ““No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical point: When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, but there is no one to hear it, does it - philosophically speaking - make a noise?” ( )
  msjudy | Oct 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (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 editionscalculated
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazzone, PhilipDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:21 -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)

» see all 13 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.05)
1 7
1.5 2
2 42
2.5 11
3 327
3.5 95
4 686
4.5 77
5 547

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,997,076 books! | Top bar: Always visible