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Night Watch
By Terry Pratchett

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Night Watch
A Discworld Novel
By Terry Pratchett
Charnwood: Large Print, (2004)
ISBN: 1-84395-178-9
Genre: Fantasy

Other Editions: Standard Print - Hardcover | Standard Print - Paperback | Audio Cassette - Unabridged | Audio CD

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - April 12, 2004

Night Watch is a spectacular addition to Terry Pratchett's Discworld series that allows the unforgettable Monks of History to once again delight us with their shenanigans. However, the main focus of the Night Watch is the adventures of the indomitable Duke Sam Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. In this rollicking story through Discworld, Vimes must contend with a wife who is on the verge of giving birth and Carcer, a nefarious killer. While tracking the killer, they are both hit by lightening, which propels them back in time.

Vimes discovers that they have traveled back into time about thirty years. A copper (police man) to the core, Vimes continues to track down the killer, even when he discovers that catching his prey will result in a drastic change in Vimes future life. Namely, in the altered future, he'll not have a wife nor family. It presents a dire conundrum for the commander. Do his job and ruin his life, or let a serial killer go free.

In the process of tracking down the killer, Vimes discovers that he needs to devote some time to teaching his younger self the finer points of police work, while also seeking a path back to his own future. In Vimes original past, his younger self had been taught his police skill craft by John Keel. However, one of the first things that Carcer does in the past is to kill Keel. To try to keep any disruptions to the future to a minimum, the older Vimes must step in and complete the tasks that Keel accomplished in Vimes original past. In regard to getting back to the present, Vimes is aided by one of the Monks of History who feels obligated to try to set history / time right. To make a horrendous situation even worse, Vimes finds that Ankh-Morpork is about to erupt into a bloody revolution and he will have to work hard to ensure that the revolution ends the way it is suppose to.

Despite the serious theme of this story, i.e., the hunt for a serial killer, this is a rather witty and funny book. Pratchett is a satirical genius, and he is willing to lampoon just about anything he can get his hands on, from death to politics. Night Watch is a complex and thrilling story. Most of the main characters found in the Discworld series pop up, at least momentarily, within the pages of this story. Pratchett effortlessly juggles all these characters and expertly handles the difficulties inherent in writing a time-travel story. In this novel, Pratchett does assume that you have read at least some of the previous Discworld series. If this happens to be your first introduction to this monumental series you may miss some of the nuances, but you'll still find the story intriguing. Be forewarned, Night Watch is the twenty-eighth Discworld novel and the series is very addictive. After reading this scintillating, dark fantasy, you're bound to want to go back and read all previous books in the series!


Night Watch can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood.


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