Thursday, August 30, 2012
Night Watch by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #29)
Commander Sam Vimes is about to be a father. But he has been forbidden from his wife’s side. What’s a good copper to do besides wear a hole in the carpet pacing? Catch bad guys! And Carcer, known murderer, bad guy extraordinaire, has been spotted and the Watch has him surrounded. Joining the hunt is the best thing Sam can think of to keep him occupied. But a harrowing encounter with Carcer atop the Unseen University Library during a freak magical storm sends Vimes and Carcer back in time. Their presence alone disrupts the thread of time but when Carcer murders John Keel, the man who mentored a young Sam Vimes, the older Vimes must assume Keel’s identity and mentor himself if he is to be the Sam Vimes that he is. Even if time has been disrupted certain events must take place: teaching a young Sam how to be a copper, being the face of a revolution and grabbing hold of Carcer to bring him to justice and back to the timeline they belong in. If Sam fails, the life he knows, will never be or have been.
Oh time travel what a tangled web you weave and Pratchett handles it wonderfully though there were moments that confused me but I think that’s just the nature of time travel and this is Discworld after all. Night Watch is also quite dark and gritty, and I’m often surprised by this at times because the humor and fantasy elements are hilarious and outrageous. Pratchett doesn’t shy away from violence and the truth and motivations behind the mob mentality, rebellions and class warfare. There’s also plenty of light moments and comedy. I don’t know how Pratchett is able to balance everything out but he does. There are moments that make you cringe, nod your head in agreement, stifle a laugh; his books are very engaging.
I really loved seeing the younger versions of Sam, Colon, Nobby and Vetineri. A skinny, street urchin, pickpocket Nobby is the cutest, filthiest thing ever and Vetineri is just as sly and smart as an assasin just as he will be a sly, two-steps-ahead-of-you patrician. And of course, Sam is Sam, always the copper, always determined to do what is right and he has become one of my favorite characters, not just from Discworld, but also from the fantasy genre altogether.