I cannot bestow on Terry Pratchett's shoulders sufficient praise for what he's done. I have read just about everything he's ever written, including books for young people ("The Bromeliad" trilogy, the "Johnny" trilogy and, most recently, "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents").

Up now was "Night Watch", the 27th Discworld novel. I started with a some misgivings, what with the main characters being those associated with the Ankh Morpork City Watch. They never were my favourite characters, just like the witches weren't. I'd prefer Death any day.

In "Night Watch" (which comes with a particularly cool cover), Samual Vimes gets launched back in the past together with arch-crimimal Carcer. He has to educate his younger self, prevent (or was it cause to occur?) a revolution, and get the bad guy. The plot seems a little bit more straightforward this time, but it features a lot of unpredictable twists and, obviously, some totally amazing language jokes. "Night Watch" scores high on the 'laughs-per-page' meter, despite the fact that it seems to be the Discworld with the highest body count so far. There's quite a lot of blood and death, which is something I had to get used to a bit. It does add to the seriousness of the book. And because it's about some good old fashioned human characters traits (flaws in particular), that is probably a good thing.

I don't recall what I concluded about Pratchett's previous books, however undoubtedly they will not be much different from this one: "Night Watch" is highly readable, completely original, extremely entertaining and filled with laughs at every turn of the page. I appreciate this man no end, and the fact that his new instalment of the Discworld series is a bit more death-laden than usual actually makes the experience richer on the whole.

I can't wait to find out what "Monstrous Regiment", the 28th Discworld novel, will bring.

Released 2003, ISBN 0-552-14899-7

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Written October 2003


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