Thud!, Terry Pratchett

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Followers of the Discworld series will be aware that the Battle of Koom Valley looms large. It's referenced frequently in the Ankh-Morpork Watch sub-section of the series, and it's all about the relationship between the trolls and the dwarfs. As it says in the blurb - "That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago." But it's always there bubbling along under the surface and if Commander Sam Vimes doesn't sort out the murder of just one dwarf, it's all going to kick off again, right on his doorstep, and followers of the series will be well aware what a dim view Vimes would take of that.

Mind you - nothing will stop him from being at home, at six o'clock every evening, no excuses, no failures, he's got to read "Where's My Cow?", with accompanying farmyard noises, to young Sam no matter what's kicking off anywhere else.

Which makes the sharper edges and the darker aspects of THUD! all the more mildly surprising (although that's just daft really - if there's one thing I've been reminded of in this quest, never underestimate this author, there are googly balls hiding in every other over). But THUD! does feel very much like comic tragedy - more so than in other novels, possibly because the fundamental themes being explored here are mindless hatred, bigotry and sheer bloody-minded prejudice. It's books like this, in this series, that are making me really very annoyed at a world in which so many nasty people continue to breathe, and yet, a man like Terry Pratchett dies too soon.

(I'm backtracking to finish off the notes on the final 8 Discworld novels I've listened to as part of the quest to listen to the entire series, and am suddenly struck by the idea that I will never now know what becomes of Commander Sam Vimes, his son young Sam and Lady Sybill and I'm off for a bit of a contemplation in a corner now.)


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Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago.

But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office.

With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him.

Oh . . . and at six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read 'Where's My Cow?', with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy.

There are some things you have to do. 

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