Publication year: 1993
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2008
Finnish translator: Mika Kivimäki
Page count: 328
Finnish Publisher: Karisto
The Ankh-Morpok City Guard, Night Watch, is again in trouble. The Patrician has told them to get new recruits from the City’s minorities. So now they have three new, and eager, Lance-Constables: Cuddy (a male dwarf), Detritus (a male troll), and Angua (a human woman and a werewolf, but apparently her being a woman is the minority part). Cuddy and Detritus bicker constantly and we find out some interesting things about troll brains. Carrot, Nobby, and Colon are trying their best to train the newbies while Captain Vimes is about to be married and then he will retire from the Guard. He’s absolutely miserable about it.
Meanwhile Edward d’Eath has read long and hard of the City’s history and found out something interesting. He’s a royalist and he would very much want to return the royal heir to Ankh-Morpok’s throne. He’s found a candidate for that, too: Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson. Sadly for him, Edward doesn’t manage to convince his fellow nobles about it so he starts to plot.
An explosion at the Assassin’s Guild draws Vimes’ attention but the Guild leader, Dr. Cruces, denies that anything has really happened. Then the Guard find a dead dwarf with a hole in his chest in the river and the Patrician himself makes it clear to Vimes that the dwarf’s death and the robbery from the Assassin’s Guild should not be investigated. Of course, Vimes does exactly the opposite, just as Lord Vetinari knew he would.
The new recruits are really the stars of the book along with Carrot. Detritus and Cuddy start as pretty much enemies but end up bonding because of the job. Carrot is apparently instantly attracted to Angua, and she to him, and he tries to court her in his own way. Of course, Angua hasn’t told Carrot that she’s a werewolf and she’s really insecure about it. Unfortunately, while this romance is a bit different than a usual fantasy romance, it really wasn’t my favorite about the book.
Also, Gaspode the talking dog steals pretty much every scene he’s in. Also, we get introduced to the rather vicious homeless dogs on the city’s streets. To me, Gaspode feels like a rogue with a heart of gold.
As usual, Pratchett has strong themes in the book: racism (or rather specieism since Discworld has different species) and the way that power corrupts. Near the start there’s a hilarious, or chilling, depending, scene where Vimes talks to several of the city’s nobles. One of them manages to talk about the dwarfs as both too hard working and lazy bums who have both too small heads to think at all and are simultaneously fiendishly clever. I also always feel sorry for the poor clowns whenever they are mentioned.
“Cuddy had only been a guard for a few days, but already he had absorbed one important and basic fact: it is almost impossible for anyone to be in a street without breaking the law.”
“Young Edward thinks that there is no lake of blood too big to wade through to put a rightful king on a throne, no deed too base in defence of a crown. A romantic, in fact.”