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Fifth book of the original and best CITY WATCH series, now reinterpreted in BBC's The Watch
'Precisely balanced . . . a cracking comic thriller' The Times
The Discworld is very much like our own - if our own were to consist of a flat planet balanced on the back of four elephants which stand on the back of a giant turtle, that is . . .
'Well, he thought, so this is diplomacy. It's lying, only for a better class of people.
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job.
A few days ago Sam Vimes was a copper - an important copper, true - chief of police - but still, at his core, a policeman. But today he is an ambassador - to the mysterious, fat-rich country of Uberwald. Today, Sam Vimes is also a man on the run.
At some point during his ambassadorship, things went very wrong. It's snowing. It's freezing. And if Vimes can't make it through the forest, with only his wits and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya (don't ask), there's going to be a terrible war.
There are monsters on his trail. They're bright. They're fast. They're werewolves - and they're catching up.
Acclaimed British author Pratchett continues to distinguish himself from his colleagues with clever plot lines and genuinely likable characters in this first-rate addition to his long-running Discworld fantasy series (Carpe Jugulum, etc.). This time around, the inhabitants of Discworld's Ankh-Morpork have turned their attentions in the direction of Uberwald--a country rich in valuable minerals and high-quality fat deposits. (The fifth elephant, it seems, left all these when he or she crashed and burned in Uberwald at the beginning of time.) Ankh-Morpork's policeman Sam Vimes has been sent there to represent his people at a coronation--and to find the recently stolen, rock-hard and symbolically important (at least to the Dwarf population) Scone of Stone. As he tells Vimes's story (and surrounding ones), Pratchett cheerfully takes readers on an exuberant tale of mystery and invention, including the efforts of a clique of neo-Nazi werewolves to destabilize Uberwald. Along the way, he skewers everything from monarchy to fascism, as well as communism and capitalism, oil wealth and ethnic identities, Russian plays, immigration, condoms and evangelical Christianity--in short, most everything worth talking about. Not as perfect as Pratchett's Hogfather but in the same class, this novel is a heavyweight of lightness. 200,000 ad/promo; 7-city author tour. FYI: At the end of The Fifth Elephant is appended a "handy travel guide" to the "World of Terry Pratchett," including a character guide to the Discworld novels and a Discworld crossword puzzle.