One moment, Sir Sam Vimes is in his old patrolman form, chasing a sweet-talking psychopath across the rooftops of Ankh-Morpork. The next, he's lying naked in the street, having been sent back thirty years courtesy of a group of time-manipulating monks who won't leave well enough alone. This Discworld is a darker place that Vimes remembers too well, three decades before his title, fortune, beloved wife, and impending first child. Worse still, the murderer he's pursuing has been transported back also. Worst of all, it's the eve of a fabled street rebellion that needlessly destroyed more than a few good (and not so good) men. Sam Vimes knows his duty, and by changing history he might just save some worthwhile necks—though it could cost him his own personal future. Plus there's a chance to steer a novice watchman straight and teach him a valuable thing or three about policing, an impressionable young copper named Sam Vimes.
British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series (The Last Hero, etc.). Pragmatic Sam Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, can't complain. He has a title, his wife is due to give birth to their first child any moment and he hasn't had to pound a beat in ages but that doesn't stop him from missing certain bits of his old life. Thank goodness there's work to be done. Vimes manages to corner a murderer, Carcer, on the library dome at Unseen University during a tremendous storm, only to be zapped back in time 30 years, to an Ankh-Morpork where the Watch is a joke, the ruling Patrician mad and the city on the verge of rebellion. Three decades earlier, a man named John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught young Sam Vimes how to be a good cop before dying in that rebellion. Unfortunately, in this version of the past, Carcer has killed Keel. The only way Vimes can hope to return home and ensure he has a future to return home to is to take on Keel's role. The author lightens Vimes's decidedly dark situation with glimpses into the origins of several of the more unique denizens of Ankh-Morpork. One comes away, as always, with the feeling that if Ankh-Morpork isn't a real place, it bloody well ought to be.
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A book for our day; a book for America
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, but then so are the rest of us. The problem with revolutions is we're revolting. Unlike Lord Vimes we don't know how tomorrow will have judged us as we live today, but neither did he in a real sense. The best we can do is look, listen and study. There is right and it doesn't claim to be Right. If we think for ourselves, as opposed to letting others tell us they are the source of right, we, our lives, will ring true.
That's the book, but Terry Pratchett says it much better, though you'll take longer to come away with the message by reading the book. Perhaps that's necessary so it sticks with us longer; sinks deeper into our being.
You can come away after reading this book feeling akin to several of the Watch. Yes, you want to be the hero, but if you stand for what's right, protecting those who are attacked, then you're doing your job as a citizen where ever you live.
Night Watch all night
This book will keep you up all night, because you won’t be able to put it down. Don’t start it at bedtime if you have to work the next day.
One of the best
I have read over half of the Discworld series and find this to be one of the best. It's sentimental in the right ways, funny, smart, all the best that these is bout Sam Vimes and the watchmen's thread of the Discworld series. And it mixes in a bit with the wizards, which is nice!