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Terry Pratchett
bookicon
Thud!
hardcover
368 pages
Another Discworld Novel, again starring Commander of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Sam Vimes. This time it's war, and Sam's in the middle..

Married to dragon breeding Lady Sybil (who has also taken up Sock Darning: She isn't very good at it, but it is the sort of thing one ought to do, as a wife), and with a young son, Sam, expecting his dad to deliver a daily, 6 o'clock reading of, 'Where's my cow?' - complete with sound effects, The Commander is faced with a situation of developing 'inter-species intolerance' which threatens the very existence of Ankh-Morpork itself.

With Lord Vetinari pressing him to take on a Vampire as a member of his force (which doesn't go down too well with the resident Were-Wolf - or with Sam himself, for that matter) and with several of his Dwarf officers leaving, Vimes is forced to try to ease the situation as the Battle of Koom Valley anniversary approaches - and the hundred's of years of bickering (and worse) the anniversary has brought with it.

A murder in the closed world of the Dwarf Deep-Downers complicates matters, as do threats to his family.

Drug sniffing Trolls don't make matters any easier.

And why was a very large picture stolen?

On one level this is an enjoyable detective romp through (and under) the streets of Ankh-Morpork, driven by a twisting, turning plot and a cast of regular Disc World characters.

But if most detective tales are, `Who-done-its'; and Agatha Christie's Poitrot stories are, `How-done-its'; Thud is a very much a, `Why-done-it?'!

What is driving the characters to behave the way they do?

This is explored most thoroughly in Vimes himself - who is not immune from the petty prejudices of humanity and who exhibits a growing anger as the story develops.

The all too easily justified anger is the most threatening thing in the story and brings Vimes, the Trolls and the Dwarfs to the very edge of destruction.

The book is a comedy, however, and like all comedies, it leaves the reader with a satisfying optimism.

On Disc-World, conflict will never be far away, but it can be resolved.
As in most of Pratchett's books, the themes and observations he makes reflect very much on the real world we find ourselves in.

Koom Valley, to me, has deep echoes of Kosovo and the `Field of Blackbird's' in 1389 - a battle which has had murderous repercussions down through history and well into our future. (Ismail Kadare's, Three Elegies For Kosovo, explores the same issues as Pratchett, but in a very different genre).

And if some of the characters in Thud are almost clich' - so too are some of the real people driving religious, gender and political intolerance (from whichever side).

For those who know the Disc-World stories, this is very much in the tradition of the earlier books - no chapters, footnotes, strong clear plot line and lovably eccentric characters (a 5 star Butler in this one, and totally `heart-of-gold, dumb-blond' pole dancer).

Not exactly the best in the series, but still worth a read..
7/10
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