HarperTorch, 2003 (2002)
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Reviewed by Wesley Williamson
his is (unless I have lost count somewhere along the years) the 28th novel in the fabulous
series, and the fun is as fast and furious as ever. There is perhaps just a little more of the morality tale here than Pratchett usually supplies along with his fun, puns, and ironic observation of civilization as we know it.
am Vimes, Commander of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork, has come up in the world. He is now a Duke, his wife is about to give birth to their first child, and the young lady assassin whom he trapped in his cesspit has explained while busily treading water that she is only on a training exercise, and that he has been taken off the Assassins' list. He is perfectly happy, except that he misses the uniquely different feel of the various pavements of Ankh-Morpork under the thin soles of his boots as he patrols the streets.
hich may explain why he personally should have been involved in cornering a cold-blooded murderer, Carcer, on the Library dome of Unseen University during a thunderstorm. A lightning bolt, combined with the accumulated magic of the Library, sends Vimes and Carcer back 30 years in time to the Ankh-Morpork of Vimes' youth, a very much more corrupt and unhappy city, with a crazy Patrician, a department of secret police headed by an even crazier sadist, and a City Watch which is only a joke.
ust at that time, a man called John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught the young Sam Vimes to be a good and relatively honest and law-abiding cop. But Carcer murders Keel, and the only hope for Vimes to return home to the future he knows is to take over Keel's job and, among other things, teach himself to become the man he will be. Among the other urgent things he must attend to are the orderly progress of the revolution against the Patrician, setting up the Peoples' Republic of Treacle Mine Road, and organizing the battalions of street urchins, the euphemistically named Guild of Seamstresses, and all the other rebels behind the barricades under the Revolution's banner with it's credo '
Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a hard-boiled egg.
or readers familiar with the various characters who have appeared in previous stories, it is fascinating to meet them again thirty years younger, including the Patrician himself. But even if this is your first meeting, jump right in! You will have a wonderful time.
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