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Night Watch (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2003

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Mass Market Paperback, September 30, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series (The Last Hero, etc.). Pragmatic Sam Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, can't complain. He has a title, his wife is due to give birth to their first child any moment and he hasn't had to pound a beat in ages but that doesn't stop him from missing certain bits of his old life. Thank goodness there's work to be done. Vimes manages to corner a murderer, Carcer, on the library dome at Unseen University during a tremendous storm, only to be zapped back in time 30 years, to an Ankh-Morpork where the Watch is a joke, the ruling Patrician mad and the city on the verge of rebellion. Three decades earlier, a man named John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught young Sam Vimes how to be a good cop before dying in that rebellion. Unfortunately, in this version of the past, Carcer has killed Keel. The only way Vimes can hope to return home and ensure he has a future to return home to is to take on Keel's role. The author lightens Vimes's decidedly dark situation with glimpses into the origins of several of the more unique denizens of Ankh-Morpork. One comes away, as always, with the feeling that if Ankh-Morpork isn't a real place, it bloody well ought to be.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A freak accident hurls Commander Sam Vines back into his own past, where he must assume a new identity and watch his younger self struggle to rise in the ranks of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork while tracking down a dangerous criminal and finding a way to return to his own time. The 28th addition to Pratchett's "Discworld" series explores time travel and historical inevitability with cleverness and humor. The author's talent for comedy does not falter as he continues to set the standard for comic fantasy. A good choice, particularly where the series is popular.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 29)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060013125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060013127
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the tricky parts of a time travel novel is explaining to the traveler (especially if his journey is inadvertent as it is in "Night Watch") and the reader just what the heck happened.

Luckily, in a previous Discworld novel, "Thief of Time" (2001), Pratchett invented Lu-Tze and the Time Monks, so that when Sam Vimes travels back to his own past while chasing a cold-blooded murderer, a little bald wrinkly smiling man (Rule #1: "Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!") rescues Sam from the clutches of history's cowardly, badly run Night Watch, and explains what has happened.

Basically, young Sam Vimes has just joined the past's Night Watch and the older Sam Vimes must teach him to be a good cop while disguised as Sargeant John Keel, newly arrived in Ankh-Morpork and ready to kick some sloppy, sadistic cop butt.

If 'old' Vimes doesn't make sure 'young' Vimes becomes a decent cop, his future, his wife, his position as Commander of the Watch will be lost to him. Good men will needlessly die.

Historical Ankh-Morpork is also gearing up for a revolt against a Patrician who is propped up by a really nasty secret police gang. Once 'Sargeant John Keel' gets himself clothed, out of jail, his plight explained by Lu-Tze, and is put in charge of the Treacle Mine Road Watch House, he must train up young Sam Vimes (as well as future-Sargeant Colon, and Nobby Nobbs), capture a killer, and make sure the Revolution is won by the right people.

Only then Vimes will get to return to the 'future' where his wife is about to give birth.

I enjoy all of Discworld novels starring the redoubtable Sam Vimes, but "Night Watch" is something special.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Newman on November 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Night Watch is the 27th, or 28th (depending on how you count them) book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. The Discworld series takes place on the flat world of the Disc which is carried on the backs of four elephants standing on the great Turtle, A'tuin, as he (or maybe she) swims through space. On the Disc mariners who attempt to sail over the horizon, in fact, sail over the edge. The Disc is home to magic and many magical creatures and beings abound, gods, dwarfs, trolls, vampires, zombies, werewolves, wizards, witches and more. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books can be grouped into categories depending on who the primary characters are. I tend to think of the categories as the Wizards of the Unseen University, the Witches of Lancre, Death, and the City Watch. Most of the Discworld books fall into one of these categories although a few like Pyramids, Moving Pictures and Small Gods don't. Night Watch though is definitely a City Watch book.
In Night Watch, we learn how Samuel Vimes' character was formed. His Grace, the Duke Samuel Vimes, the commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is dispatched back in time (along with a ruthless killer) to the waning days of the corrupt Lord Winder's reign as ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Vimes must assume the identity of John Keel, a guardsman recently recruited to the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch as a Sergeant at Arms. In the Night Watch he finds his earlier self, takes him under his wing and teaches him how to be a good copper. In his jaunt back to the past Vimes meets earlier versions of Fred Colon as a corporal, Nobby Nobbs as a street urchin, Reg Shoe as a non-zombie revolutionary and a young new street vendor named Dibbler just starting out.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on November 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the Discworld version of a time machine story. I think it's the best written of the entire Terry Pratchett library, but I only give it four stars.
The thing about any time machine story is that you already know how it comes out. And, for me at least, that takes a bit out of Pratchett's toolbox. Pratchett novels in the past have been a wild ride where you were never completely sure how it would all work out. "Night Watch" is a wild ride, but it's a roller coaster ride, and you know at the end of the ride you'll be, more or less, back at the starting point, breathless but okay.
There's also a bit of a character development issue. Maybe it's just the Monks of History having problems again, but how did eager young nightwatchman Sam Vimes - not John Keel, but Sam Vimes - turn into the lush we know and love in "Guards! Guards!"? We first met Sam Vimes, remember, lying drunk in a gutter in a rainstorm...
Still and all, this is an excellent addition to the Night Watch series. Not an introduction, mind you. I think you need to meet Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs in "Guards! Guards!" or "Men at Arms" to appreciate those first, earlier encounters here. Especially to ah... savor the meeting with Nobby. Longstanding mysteries are solved, and half the fun is knowing they are mysteries in advance. Why Reg Shoe is a zombie. Whether Vetinari is indeed an assassin.
Pratchett's wordcraft is as good or even better than it has ever been. He is particularly deft in seamlessly intertwining the linked story threads and his message, which he slips in as craftily as any assassin. The party at which Mad Lord Winder is not assassinated is particularly well done.
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