Publication year: 1999
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2009
Format: print
Finnish translator: Mika Kivimäki
Page count: 475
Finnish Publisher: Karisto

Lord Vetinari needs a diplomat whom he can send to Überwald and he chooses Sir Samuel Vimes, the commander of Ankh-Morphok’s City Watch. Vimes is at first horrified but in the end he has no choice but to agree. Überwald is a huge country and is perhaps most famous for having a lot of dwarfs who don’t like them modern things, such as Ankh-Morphok. The dwarfs are about to enthrone a new Low King and Vimes has to negotiate a new trade deal with him. He takes with him Cheery Littlebottom (a dwarf who has admitted that she’s a woman and dresses accordingly, shocking other dwarfs) and Detrius (a troll).

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in the city (as usual). Apparently someone has stolen the replica of the Scone of Stone from the Dwarf Bread Museum . Also, a man who makes valuable rubber item has been killed.

Because Vimes leaves, Captain Carrot is left in charge. However, soon Carrot receives word that Angua has taken a leave of absence. Carrot suspects that he knows where Angua is going so and wants to follow her. So, he tries to quite the Watch but Vetinari changes it to a vacation. Carrot recruits Gaspode, that talking dog, and the due trails Angua to Überwald. Because Carrot leaves, the Watch now need a new commander. This role falls to Sargent Fred Colon as the senior officer. Unfortunately, Colon isn’t really suited to the task. Hilarity ensues!

This book shows dwarfs’ culture a lot more. They become more three dimensional than just the stereotypes we’ve seen before. Previously, many of the dwarf characters have been just easily the gruff axe wielding, heavily drinking people. Here they even have a religion! It just doesn’t revolve around deities.

To me, this book was divided into two: Vimes’ tale in Überwald isn’t laugh out loud funny but the Ankh-Morpokh tale is. Vimes’ story has a serious story line and ironic characters. I really enjoyed the Igors who are all called Igor and are made up of parts of other people. On the other hand, the werewolves and especially their leader were very serious people. Angua’s and Carrot’s relationship is also at a serious point. But meanwhile back in the city, the acting captain Colon is way out of his depth. Unfortunately (for him and the rest of the Watch, fortunately for us readers) he’s also out of control: he’s paranoid and micromanages everything, a real tyrant.

I really enjoyed this one. Vimes has grown a lot since his first appearance. The Igors were fascinating and one of them has apparently joined the Watch. Cheery is now so comfortable with her femaleness that she goes out in a skirt. Pretty much that only thing I didn’t care for was the tension between Angua and Carrot.

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