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by Terry Pratchett

      Many hundreds, or is it thousands, or years ago the trolls either ambushed the dwarves, or the other way around and the infamous battle of Koom Valley was fought. Since then there have been many replays, but nobody is quite sure exactly what happened. Koom Valley Day is fast approaching, and every troll and dwarf in Ankh-Morpork is up to Something, but what? Commander Sam Vimes has to get to the bottom of it (and a very deep bottom it looks to be too) before all-out war is declared. As if that wasn't enough, he has to get home in time to read his baby son Where's My Cow? At 6 o'clock exactly every night.

Comedy, fantasy, contemporary satire, loveable characters and a good we not only have all of these but a whodunit to boot (or a whydunit perhaps). Imitators have given up imitating Terry Pratchett, and have left him to dish up each autumn another helping of his own special sub-genre. Comedy aside, this one is about the evils of race hatred and how history can all too easily be distorted in the wrong hands. It also has sub plots about Sam trying his best to be a good father and the whodunit mentioned earlier. A minor character discovers his true worth, some of Pratchett's most effective characters get put through their paces and it all ends satisfactorily. My favorite thing about his books is the way the Discworld is so well realized that it seems to have taken on a life of its own. Gone is comedy for its own sake, and instead there is a more mature and thoughtful story that manages not to become too worthy or cozy (sometimes it gets close). One of Pratchett's better books, slightly repetitive middle notwithstanding.

The Book

Doubleday (Transworld)
3 October 2005
Comic Fantasy
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005