Second book of the original and best CITY WATCH series, now reinterpreted in BBC's The Watch
'Funny, wise and mock heroic . . . The funniest and best crafted book I have read all year' Sunday Express
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 . . .
'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.'
The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman... most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).
And they need all the help they can get, because someone in Ankh-Morpork has been getting dangerous ideas - about crowns and legendary swords, and destiny.
And the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger. One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world . . .
In his latest effort, Pratchett skewers the hard-boiled detective novel as effectively as he's satired fantasy fiction all these years. Set on Discworld, there are a few more gargoyles and exploding dragons than Sam Spade ever had to deal with. But there's a trail of corpses and a hero named Carrot determined to track down the killer. His partners-the token dwarf, troll and werewolf on the police force-must overcome discrimination as well as the occasional rampaging orangutan. Although Men at Arms isn't as consistently funny as his earlier novels, the dialogue is hilarious, and Pratchett's take on affirmative action is a whole lot of fun. There's not a lot of rational narrative cause-and-effect here, but it doesn't really matter. As usual, Pratchett provides enough bad-tempered clowns, bloodthirsty trolls and dogs with low self-esteem to keep readers entertained.