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Men at Arms Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews
Book 15 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"'Funny, wise and mock heroic...The funniest and best crafted book I have read all year'" Sunday Express "'Like Jonathan Swift, Pratchett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent ... incredibly funny ... compulsively readable' " The Times "'His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction' " Mail on Sunday "'The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody ... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences' " -- A.S. Byatt New York Times "'Persistently amusing, good-hearted and shrewd'" Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

"Be a MAN in the City Watch!  The City Watch needs MEN!"

But what it's gotincludes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman...most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).

And they need all the help they can get.  Because they've only got twenty-four hours to clean up the town and this is ANKH-MORPORT we're talking about... --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061092193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061092190
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the Discworld novel wherein Captain Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork's Night Watch retires and gets married, the Night Watch itself becomes an equal species organization, and Gaspode the Talking Dog falls in love with new recruit, Angua, the werewolf. She has just joined the Night Watch under the Equal Species Act, along with Detritus the Troll and Cuddy the Dwarf.

No wonder Sam, who is a bit of a male chauvinist speciesist is going to retire.

Not since Stephen King's "It" have clowns gotten such bad press as in "Men at Arms." They seem to be the saddest creatures on Discworld. One of them, Beano is murdered and ends up playing 'Knock Knock - Who's There?' with Death, who is trying to develop a sense of humor.

Humor will never be the strong suite of a hooded, seven-foot skeleton with glowing blue eyes, but Death does get in one inadvertently funny line. He tells Beano to think of his newly deceased state as being 'DIMENSIONALLY DISADVANTAGED.'

Meanwhile back in the world of the living and undead, Captain Sam Vimes and his command investigate the circumstances of Beano's death. Sam is also under orders from his wife-to-be to find a missing swamp dragon, which is likely to explode if it comes under stress.

When a large hole is blown in the headquarters of the Assassin's Guild, Sam has a pretty good notion of what caused the explosion. What he really wants to know is whether this latest calamity has something to do the Beano's death. After all, the Assassins are right next door to the Guild of Fools and Clowns.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wonder if Discworld fans ever feel like they are in on a big happy secret, that people who think "fantasy" genre novels are beneath them aren't entitled to know.
I guess I used to be one of those naysayers. My inherent interest level in dragons and trolls is not that high. But "Men at Arms," the first Pratchett novel I've ever read, is the funniest most entertaining read I've had in years, in ANY genre.
My only problem now is that I want to go right out and read the other 20+ novels ASAP, but fear I will lose my job because I am reading them under my desk at the office, and lose my husband because I wake him up laughing so hard while reading in bed.
BTW if you want a real treat, try this (or other Pratchetts) on audio CD/cassette/download. The fellow doing the reading (Nigel Planer?) is a riot. Plus, if you listen in your car on the way to work, you can keep your job and your spouse.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of all Pratchett's brilliantly drawn characters, Samuel Vimes stands unique in providing a realistic role model for the rest of us. He's honest, forthright, deeply suspicious of aristocracy, and best of all, despises the idea of kings. The last is important here, for someone wishes the return of the Ankh-Morpork monarchy. And Sam Vimes' remote ancestor, Old Stoneface, executed the last one.
Edward d'Eath [how does PTerry come up with these names?!], an impoverished aristocrat, seeks fulfillment of his destiny by restoring the monarchy. Recruiting fellow lords to his cause proves difficult. It's been a long time since the last king, and the Patrician runs the city with commendable, if frightening, efficiency. So Edward embarks on a solitary campaign.
Pratchett's inventive mind takes us from the "fantasy" genre into the murder mystery domain. Murder isn't a common event on the Discworld, and its occurrence here creates an intensity of feeling rarely evoked by Pratchett's works. Vimes is particularly irritated by such abhorrent events as murder. Assassination is bad enough, although carefully regulated by its Guild. For Vimes, murder is too arbitrary. It reflects the one aspect of society he resents the most, the exercise of absolute power. He's affronted both as a copper and a man.
Partly inspired by Corporal Carrot, Vimes is no longer content having the Watch "let things lie anymore". Forces that used to push a drunken Vimes into the gutter are forces he now resists, even struggles to overcome. It's an inspiring read watching Pratchett give Vimes a new sense of dedication. Vimes has always sought justice, and his recent rise in society and the Watch has given him fresh impetus, and clout, to gain it. However, first he must survive.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is one of the ones that I would say you really kind of needed to read the other one that deals with the night watch. It isn't a necessity but it certainly added to it, having gotten to know the characters. The whole series is a lot of fun but I would definitely suggest this book.
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I was very disappointed to find the footnotes missing from this edition. If there's a way to get to them, I couldn't find it & Pratchett's footnotes are a significant part of the humor. So buy the print version of the Discworld books - and do buy them. Prachett is always entertaining!
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