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Terry Pratchett – Thud!

Title: Thud!
Author: Terry Pratchett
Year: 2005

It’s amazingly difficult to write more than thirty books set in the same fictive universe without repeating oneself a few times, and even though Pratchett has shown that he isn’t above that (see Going Postal  and Monstrous Regiment, for instance), Thud! is still a good try. It’s a continuation of my favourite Discworld thread, namely the one about the City Watch (containing pearls such as Feet of Clay). The story focuses on the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley, a recurring source of friction between dwarfs and trolls everywhere in the world. A dwarf leader named Grag Hamcrusher is murdered and Vimes, Carrot, Angua and the others are sent to investigate (incidentally, there’s also a new figure, a vampire). Of course, it turns out that it isn’t a simple murder and that this time the anniversary has a potential to be much more than a rough night in the city’s streets and bars.

Apart from covering the standard subjects of this series, such as policing and the various problems contained within the watch, Thud! focuses on ethnic polarisation and antagonism, with obvious references to real world occcurences of such phenomena. Since Vimes is now father to a young boy, it also means that these harsher themes are interlaced with something softer and more affectionate, although the combination itself is of course a crucial point in the story.

This setup reminds me of many of the other novels in this series, all of which I like rather much. Some things repeat themselves, especially things about the city. Yes, Ankh-Morpork is a colourful explosion of wild ideas, but there are limits to how many books one can set in it before it becomes too old. Pratchett has passed that point a long time ago. Still, I do think that the author develops for every book and that there’s a distinct difference between later and earlier books. In short, he’s become a better author and this gives this book an edge towards the older ones.

To sum things up, this book is probably much better than many of its predecessors, but that effect is somewhat cancelled by the fact that I’ve read more than thirty books by Pratchett. Thud! is good, but it’s not unique and it contains too few new things to be really good. Considering that the most recent two books I’ve read by this author only received two and a half snails each, the three and a half I’ve decided to give Thud! is pretty good.

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