Publication year: 1997
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2007
Finnish translator: Mika Kivimäki
Page count: 380
Finnish Publisher: Karisto
The sunken city of Leshp rises from the bottom of the sea and it’s exactly halfway between the territories of Ankh-Morpok and Klatch. Of course this leads to conflict between the two nations and in Ankh-Morpok the citizens start to harass Klatchians. Well, more than usually.
In an effort to calm things down, the Klatchian ambassador, Prince Khufura, is taking part in a parade through the streets of Ankh-Morpok. Vimes and Vetinari are afraid that someone will try to assassinate the prince and the city guard tries to prevent this. However, Vimes is ordered to lead the parade, despite his strong objections. So, Vimes puts on his best clothes and starts the parade. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, he’s used to patrolling the city streets in a particular way. So, he slows down his pace and starts to twirl his stick while his mind works on problems and is trying to spot anything unusual. When he spots a suspected assassin, he starts to run – with the rest of the parade following.
The assassin only wounds the prince and is found dead, supposedly fallen from a great height after the shot. Many people are quick to dismiss the assassin as a lone looney but Vimes isn’t convinced. He assigns Corporal Nobby and Sergeant Colon to investigate the supposed assassin, and assigns Carrot and Angua to investigate the assassination, secretly. Vimes also investigates it himself. He strongly suspects that a group of Ankh-Morpok’s nobility is involved but he can’t deny that there are shady characters among the Klatchians, too. Then, war is declared and Ankh-Morpok’s nobility welcome is enthusiastically and start to recruit.
Jingo is another Discworld book with a strong theme of tolerance. People from both nations are shown to be quite similar in character despite the differences in clothes and foods. This is especially clear in the short snippets about two rival fishermen, Solid Jackson and Greasy Arif, who are trying to claim the new island for their own country, thoroughly embarrassing their sons in the process. The Ankh-Morpokian nobility is shown as idiots who have no idea how a war is really conducted but cling to out dated notions and romantic ideals read in books, and in the meantime costing real men their lives. Meanwhile, Klatchians have been waging war all the time and are better armed, too. There’s also a hilarious subplot where Nobby gets in touch with his inner, er, femininity.
I think this book is more satire than jokes than the previous ones I’ve read from him. (Just an observation, not a complaint.) It ridicules just about every aspect of military conflict from the excuses to have a conflict to the butler who suddenly is a very competent soldier. However, I think the characters were more archetypal than usual. Lord Rust has especially lost any contact with the real world and sunken to new heights of stupidity. Then again, I really enjoyed Nobby’s and Colon’s attempt at undercover work and Carrot was hilarious as well. There really seems to be some sort of pacifying magic around Carrot.
“It was much better to imagine men in some smokey room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told the children bed time stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, then what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.”
“They represented what people called the “international community.” And like all uses of the word “community,” you were never quite sure what or who it was.”
“Fortune favours the brave, sir,” said Carrot cheerfully.
“Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis a vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?”
“Oh, no–one’s ever heard of Fortune favouring them, sir.”
“According to General Tacticus, it’s because they favour themselves,” said Vimes.