Doubleday, out now
Sam Vimes is sent on holiday – but it doesn’t take too long for his policeman’s instincts to kick in…
Terry Pratchett maintains his gift for throwing his characters into unusual situations in this latest instalment in the City Watch saga – although for a lot of the book, the only character from the Watch is Vimes, reluctantly packed off to Lady Sybil’s estate in the country. There’s the inevitable urine extraction of various country-related sagas, both contemporary and historical (the book’s final gag being one of the funniest lines Pratchett has come up with for years!), and a Hot Fuzz-like take on the city policeman meeting up with the country bumpkin (in this case, the Chief Constable).
But as always with Pratchett, there’s a lot of serious meat beneath the sometimes-laugh out loud humour. The goblin community isn’t one that has had a lot of focus on it in Discworld previously, and Pratchett uses it as a metaphor for the historical move away from slavery – when does someone become a person rather than a chattel? Is it because they can think and argue? Is it when they can play a musical instrument or display other artistic merit?
Verdict: An exciting adventure, some social comment, historical parallels – and a great confrontation between Vetinari and Sam Vimes. And that’s as well as the comedy! 8/10