More amiable mockery from one of our leading lights.
The most rewarding part of Discworld, Prachett’s comedic fictional universe, is the teeming city of Ankh-Morpork, and specifically, the city’s effective yet accident-prone keepers of the peace, The Watch, whose “fine traditions . . . largely consist of finding somewhere out of the rain.” This time out, The Watch, under the leadership of their long-suffering commander, Sam Vimes, are charged with keeping order in the tinderbox city, due to go up in flames at any moment as a result of the bitter inter-species hatred between the dwarves and the trolls. Things are especially tense now because of the anniversary of Koom Valley, an ancient battle between the two races that had become “a rallying cry, the ancestral reason why you couldn’t trust those short, bearded/big, rocky bastards.” Into this pool of gasoline is tossed a match, in the form of the murder of an important dwarf whom the old dwarf fundamentalists, called “deep-downers,” were trying to blame on the trolls. Pratchett (Going Postal, 2004, etc.) takes on a target in every novel, something in the modern world that really seems to get his goat. This time it’s a few things: ethnic clannishness and strife, religious fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code and cell phones (presented here as a small, obnoxious imp in a handheld box called a Gooseberry™). As always, Vimes staggers through the chaos and idiocy as the exasperated, excruciatingly decent British voice of reason. Though Pratchett loses his way a bit towards the end, fans will not be disappointed.
Bitingly relevant and laugh-out-loud funny.