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Night Watch (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2003
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“Masterful and brilliant.” (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
About the Author
Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.
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He starts off in the present, married with a child on the way and commander of the watch. One day as he is chasing down a man that had killed multiple comrades to vimes. His name was only known as Carcer. Carcer was a trickster that never gave up. As the two find each other and fight, a magical storm brews over head as it had been throughout the rest of the day. They reach the wizard academy during their chase, when suddenly they get struck by something. A time rift of sorts is created and sends both Vimes and Carcer back in time about 40-50 years. It is at this point where Pratchett gets creative in his story telling. He thoughtfully creates a character to explain to the reader and the character itself what is happening. The character he created to do this was a group of whimsical and goofy time traveling monks with their leader Lu-Tze. The monks and Lu-Tze explain that they don’t travel through time, but rather they step out of it and move around time.
After Carcer arrived, he got into some trouble and killed the man John Keel who was supposed to Vimes’ mentor and make him the he was today. After the monks explain this to Vimes, they have him take the currently deceased John Keel’s place and live his time in the city. Since John Keel was just arriving in the city from far away places, not many people would be able to notice the difference between the two. As he goes about in this current time period he has some trouble adjusting. Especially since this was around the time that the Viscount in charge at the time was about to be assassinated and other rebellious uprisings would soon start, requiring that he prepare in a similar manner to that of how John Keel actually lived. It was also at this time that Vimes had to watch his own back in a different sense. There was the Vimes that had time traveled, but there was also the Samuel Vimes that was supposed be there at that time doing things. The younger Vimes was just a young sprout and recruit in the night watch on treacle mine road. This is where it all happened.
Vimes taught his younger self the ways and protected him and his allies from Carcer. Carcer whom had also moved up in the world as a member of the city's “secret police,” the people that tortured and interrogated those who committed crimes and were out past curfew. The reason that Carcer had got in, was because he brought a torture technique from the future that the captain was especially fond of. As the story progresses, we reach the pinnacle of this book. The riots and rising revolution that is about to unfold. Riots attack and destroy multiple watch houses, but under the guidance of Vimes, the treacle mine road watch house was untouched. Vimes continues to do amazing things under the guise of John keel, and attempts to keep it somewhat historically accurate from when he had experienced it in his life.
When the actual revolution starts he helps to keep the piece in his territory, there is extremely little rioting and violence because he had won the heart of the people. He built barricades to keep all the ruffians and soldiers out with the people he’s protecting, under the one thing he was told to do. Keep the piece. As he and his watchmen fend off the invaders, they start to get a sense of victory and achievement. It is also at this time that the Viscount is assassinated and his replacement is put into power. The new Viscount is very pleased with Vimes, but he deems him uncontrollable. In doing so, what is left of the secret police is led by Carcer to kill Vimes. Under Carcer’s command, he has a small regiment of soldiers and the some watchmen with him. It is in this epic battle that a showdown starts, but then just as the finally Lu-Tze arrives and pulls Vimes aside, out of time, and tells him that it cannot end like this. That he has made the proper preparations, and that Vimes must rush up to Carcer and grab him so that they can be sent back into their proper places. When they return, Vimes gets a hold of Carcer and arrests him.
This book is filled with non-stop puns, jokes, and other funny things all while keeping a serious tone to it. It is, in my eyes, lone of the best books I’ve ever read. It has complex layers of thought, but it isn’t too difficult to follow for any reader. I really would recommend this book to anyone who wants to enjoy themselves while they are reading a novel. I had not read any other books in the discworld series, but it was very easy to catch on and follow the plot. I’d easily give this book 5 stars.
Apart from the premise, there is very little magic in the story line. A thunderstorm made of ambient Disc-World magic and meteorology strikes with an immeasurably powerful gigabit-thaum lightening bolt directly on Commander Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch as he wrestles with a deranged murderer atop a skylight that caps the library that houses the largest collection of magical books in this or any other universe.
In other words, there is a rare convergence of power, time and space that flings Vimes some thirty years into the past. There, a responsibility arises...Vimes must intercede in, what to him, would have been a history a few hours ago but what is now an ongoing crisis.
What follows is a police story, political intrigue and a look at some favorite Ankh-Morpork characters when they were quite a bit younger, including Lance-Constable Sam Vimes in his mid-to-late teens, just a few days into his Watch career and in desperate need of a good role model...which the elder Vimes supplies.
And all done up with Pratchett's unique wit. For me, this man ranked with Monty Python, P.G. Wodehouse Beyond the Fringe...name the best British wits other the last 100 years and Terry Pratchett can meet and hold his own among them.
This book for some reason didn't. In a kind of way this book is about what will be, but from the perpective of what was. It's interesting as it shows how Vimes was thrown back in time to form what we know as The Watch. Where Nobby and Colon fits into the picture as well as Vetrinari and some of the other citizens of Ankh Morpork like the Head of the Seemstresses Guild, Rosie.
It's not as much humorous as the other books I've read from the Guards series, but it does have an interesting way of telling you how if all began. If you're interested in the roots of the Watch, then this one would probably get alot more stars from you, for me I was expecting the humor of the before mentioned characters, and since this is the past ... they are just not there.