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Guards! Guards! Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2001

334 customer reviews
Book 8 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Editorial Reviews


"'Pratchett has a masterful ear for dialogue, a keen eye for the ridiculous and a real feel for language'" Time Out "'This is one of Pratchett's best books. Hilarious and highly recommended'" The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Here there be dragons...and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all...).


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061020648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061020643
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children's books, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). Terry's latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire "for services to literature" in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry's accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Discworld really doesn't get any better or funnier than this. For the first time in the series, we get an extended up-close view of life in the remarkable city of Anhk-Morpork. We are introduced to such wonderful characters as Captain Vimes of the City Watch and his singular subordinates Nobby, Colon, and the giant dwarf (adopted) Carrot; the formidable Lady Ramkin; and Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler. The remarkable fashion in which the Patrician Lord Vetinari runs the city is explained in some detail, we begin to really get to know the Librarian of Unseen University (who was of course turned into an orangutan some type back as a result of a magical accident), and Pratchett gives us a basic rundown on the theory of L-Space under which all libraries work and are magically connected.
Everyone knows that dragons do not exist, not the type of giant mythical creatures who fly around breathing fire all over the place. Thus, it comes as something of a surprise to people when Anhk-Morpork begins experiencing incidents of the body-melting variety; such a perpetrator can only be dismissed for so long as a giant wading bird, however. It seems that a group of unimportant have-nots has been wooed into a secret society bent on teaching the haves a lesson or two by magically summoning a dragon to carry out their wishes. Naturally, things get out of hand, and the dragon finds a way to establish permanent residence in reality. Declaring himself king of the city, preparations are made to turn over treasure and begin sacrificing maidens.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on February 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Guards ! Guards !" is the eighth book in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and is the first to focus on Sam Vimes and Ankh-Morpork's City Guard. Although the City Guard was once a fine and noble profession, it has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Once, there had been hundreds of members : as the book opens, the City's Night Watch is staffed only by Sam, Sergeant Fred Colon and Corporal Nobby Nobbs. Like the Night Watch itself, Sam has also fallen on hard times. Having started drinking to forget (it was possibly something to do with a woman), he now drinks to forget the drinking. Despite his faults, though, he's a likeable cynic who has a well-developed sense of fair play and identifies with the underdog.

Things start turning around for Sam and the Watch in "Guards ! Guards !". The force sees a dramatic rise in numbers with the arrival of Carrot Ironfoundersson. Orphaned as a baby, Carrot had been taken in by the dwarfs and raised in a gold mine. Until shortly before he left home, he didn't realise he was human - he'd always thought he was just tall for his species. His adoptive father decides it's best for Carrot to spend some time with other humans and 'manages' to secure a position for him in the Ankh-Morpork City Guard. Carrot, on his arrival, is viewed with some amazement : an actual, honest volunteer. He takes things very literally (as dwarfs tend to do), is very innocent (he wouldn't know what to do with a seamstress if one fell into his lap) and a lot of the humour comes from his utter confusion.

The problem for Sam and the Night Watch is presented by the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren. Well, actually, the problem is its mysterious (and big-headed) Supreme Grand Master, an ambitious and manipulative individual.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By wallawallan on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first Discworld book I read and 24 books later it is still my favorite. The plot is so twisted, and the characters well developed, its a must read! It is a fun series to read and I would recommened to everyone to read this one first. You don't have to read the series in order. Each book can stand alone although there are several "mini-series" of books in the whole series. Guards! Guards! is full of humor yet thought provoking. While you enjoy the story you also realize the point that Mr Pratchett is making about problems in our own world. So buy it now! And enjoy!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 24, 2006
Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
Time to pack up my luggage (wouldn't it be nice to have a suitcase like Rincewind's?) and take off for Discworld while the rain and gloom of a January thaw engulf the northern hemisphere. "Guards! Guards!" is the eighth book in the Discworld series, in which Captain Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork's Night Watch gives up drinking and gets married (just the opposite of most folks). I don't read the Discworld novels in order any more, just pick up a favorite and start in.

The blurbs on the back and cover pages compare Pratchett to Charles Dickens (Pratchett is better), Chaucer, "J.R.R. Tolkien with a sharper, more satiric edge," and P.G. Wodehouse. I think any author who garners comparisons with such wildly disparate writers must be in a category by himself. Heck, Pratchett IS a category by himself.

So on to Ankh-Morpork where the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren decides, with a little prompting from its Supreme Grand Master, to conjure up a dragon. The dragon will cause enough death and property damage (including a vegetable stand and a brother-in-law's shiny new carriage) so that when the Supreme Grand Master's nephew rides into the city with his sharp, shiny sword and slays the beast, the grateful citizens will proclaim him king.

This plot works rather well, except that the dragon decides that it wants to be king and cremates its would-be slayer. Its requirements are simple and traditional: one well-bred virgin per month, and all of the gold, silver, and jewels in Ankh-Morpork for its hoard.

The new regime fires Sam Vimes from his job as captain of the Night Watch. How he wonders, could things get worse?

Well, at least he's not a virgin and no one is talking to him in capital letters.
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