Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
Review by Jacqui Slaney
Now I find myself doing reviews, I could not resist writing about one of my all time favourite authors, and in particular this book. I imagine that most people have heard of Terry Pratchett, and that if they haven’t read his books then they have seen one of the dramatisations that have been on TV, which are good but in my opinion do not capture the full flavour of his books. Everyone will have their own favourite character, mine is Samuel Vimes without a doubt.
He first appeared in ‘Guards, Guards’ one of the earlier Disc world novels, and due to the careful handling of the author, his character has developed as the books have gone on. He is cynical, sarcastic, endearing, trying to be a good man in difficult circumstances in other words a true copper. Even after his rise in the ranks to Sir Samuel Vimes, he is still a policeman who knows the street.
In this book he is very much the central character, you get to learn of his past and what makes Vimes Vimes. His wife Sybil is currently giving birth, and the story sees Vimes sent away from this event and back to his past. Back to the early days of the City watch, when Ankh Morpork was a lot nastier, and the ruler (or Patrician) was insane and there was a secret police force used to interrogate prisoners. Vimes travels back in time with a murderer who he is trying to capture and finds he has to defend both himself and his younger self from this crazed psychopath. To complicate matters he finds that he also has to save his future by ensuring that history takes its correct course.
This is a great novel, not one to read if you are new to the disc world series, but definitely one to treasure when you have read a few earlier books. Night Watch lets you meet well known character when they were young, and gives you a whole other perspective on them. This is a darker story than the earlier ones, there is still the humour that you expect from Pratchett, but there is also horror, intrigue, grief and sadness. You see the light and dark conflicts in Vimes, of what he wants to do and what he will let himself do and how he wants to protect his younger self from seeing all the evil around him.
I’m not a great lover of time travel in stories, but this story is excellent, Terry Pratchett’s skilful writing gets you hooked from the start through to the ending which came all too soon. Out of all the disc world novels I have read, I would say that this is one of my all time favourites, and I would definitely recommend it.
10 out of 10