Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

It’s the next (and 15th) Discworld book and readily available on my Kindle.

Published: 1993

Genre: fantasy

Length: 377 pages

Setting: Ankh-Morpork on Discworld

Summary: Short version: A stolen gun leads to unrest in Ankh-Morpork

Long version: Captain Vimes is getting married in a few days, which means someone new will need to lead the Night Watch. It will probably end up being Carrot since everyone likes him anyways. The Night Watch also needs to integrate some new diversity hire recruits – a dwarf, a troll, and a female werewolf. To make matters worse, someone has stolen a “gonne” from the Assassins Guild. The Assassins were supposed to destroy it, but they put it in their museum instead. The Patrician uses some reverse psychology to get the Watch looking for it, since he knows the Assassins don’t have the right mindset to find it. Deaths caused by the gun lead to a near riot between the dwarves and trolls. Carrot calms the situation down and drafts a few of each for the militia. Eventually, the gun is found and destroyed.

Published: A high quality story that made me chuckle on a regular basis. Carrot is a fun character. He does things by the book and in a literal interpretation of what everyone says. He always assumes everyone else is as good at heart as he is. Amazingly, they often comply. It helps that he knows everyone, which helps to guilt people into good behavior. In this book, Pratchett turned the idea that “guns don’t kill people – people kill people” on its head. The gun actively sought to kill pretty much anyone in sight. Only Carrot was able to withstand its wiles, probably because he doesn’t have a speck of evil hiding in his his heart like most do. Pratchett also addresses racism through the new recruits (although it was more speciesism since it was a dwarf, a troll, and a werewolf). No one trusted each other until there was something bigger to fight against, like the Day Watch. I love the idea that trolls are only stupid because Ankh-Morpork was too hot for them. Their brains overheated and slowed them down. I was sad Cuddy dies, but everyone can’t make it through the crisis. And then there’s the whole subplot of Captain Vimes. He doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. He wants to get married, but he doesn’t know how not to be a Watchman. It does work out in the end, if not necessarily how Vimes expected it.

Title comes from: It’s all about members of the Night Watch

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #38 for 2020 and a M in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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