Thud! by Terry Pratchett. ★★★★★
I love Thud!. It’s one of my favorite Discworld novels, right up there with Night Watch. However, it is the seventh Discworld novel following Vimes, so you’d be better off starting with Guards! Guards! if you haven’t read the rest of his arc. Or if you’re more generally wanting an introduction to the Discworld, you could try a stand alone novel such as Going Postal, Monstrous Regiment, or Small Gods.
Koom Valley is a historic battle between the trolls and the dwarfs, and it is the key point of the conflict between them. As the anniversary draws near, it looks like Koom Valley might break out all over again, this time in Ankh-Morpork due to the murder of a rabble rousing dwarf. It’s up to Vimes to solve the crime before the city collapses into conflict.
At it’s heart, Thud! is a novel about not giving into hatred and the darkness inside yourself. It’s one of the darker Discworld novels, which makes me love it all the more.
“You can’t call yourself a good guy and then do bad guy things.”
Sam Vimes continues to be my favorite protagonist. He’s filled with anger, but he knows better than to let it out. He’s always watching himself, guarding against the darkness inside him.
The cast of secondary characters is also wonderful. I particularly adore Angua, the werewolf watchwomen. A subplot of Thud! is the addition of a vampire to the watch, and Angua dealing with her instinctual dislike of vampires and coming to grudgingly have some respect for Sally.
“I’ve never been on a girls’ night out before,” said Cheery as they walked, a little uncertainly through the nighttime city. “Was that last bit supposed to happen?”
“What bit was that?” said Sally.
“The bit where the bar was set on fire.”
Additionally, Thud! contains a few hilarious scenes regarding art and artists. If you know anything about me, you can guess how much I love these. In particular, Pratchett touches on the tricky question of how to define art.
“He knew in his heart that spinning upside down around a pole wearing a costume you could floss with definitely was not Art, and that being painted lying on a bed wearing nothing but a smile and a small bunch of grapes was good solid Art, but putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky.”
As typical with later Discworld novels, Thud! is more plot focused and tightly woven while retaining the warmth and hilarity I associate with Discworld. I don’t know how much else I can rave about this book and this series. I highly recommend them.