City Watch Re-Read: Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Men At Arms


Another wild romp through Discworld! Corporal Carrot, a young dwarf, is newly in charge of the recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork. Edward, the 37th Lord d’Eath, has just discovered that Ankh-Morpork, kingless for generations, has a sovereign ruler, who must be convinced that he is, in fact, the King. The fate of Ankh-Morpork rides on a young man’s courage, an ancient sword’s magic and a three-legged poodle’s bladder.


You know what?  Re-reading the City Watch books was an outstanding idea. There is something comforting about it. I know it’s taken me a little while to get through the next one after Guards! Guards! but I have been reading it off and on (between other books or when I’ve just wanted a book cwtch) over the last couple of months (slow reading isn’t a bad thing but I’ve told you that already).

I like this one as it expands the stage for the City Watch. We have new recruits. They are also ‘diverse’ being drawn from dwarfs, trolls and there Angua, who is human most of the time. It’s also the one where Captain Vimes is to become Mr Vimes due to retirement and also about to get married.

That’s not a spoiler by the way is it’s one of the threads of the book. It’s how he copes with those two things that is interesting. Though it’s not all about Vimes. It’s about Corporal Carrot. It’s about dogs. And lots of other things..

There is something endearing about this novel. There are little touches that only Pratchett do. It’s all about people, as always. But it’s also a crime novel with a mysteries to solve.

It’s not a very good mystery if I’m honest, though it does have some good twists and turns, as it’s more a device to get the characters to interact and do something. We get to see what happens if you push Captain Vimes too far and the effect of strong coffee. We see why myths of Kings returning are strong motivators and what that means in reality. We get to see what happens when you cool a trolls brain and what happens when a troll and a dwarf become friends.

There are some real touching moments that come from all that.

We have the jokes and the fun too, of course.

Basically, it’s  everything I love about Pratchett.



I’m not doing well at selling this, am I? I might be but I’m getting a bit frantic fanboy about it all. This the novel where the Watch expands and becomes more than a sum of its parts. We see what happens when you put good people under pressure and what heroes are and what the Watch does to those that join (though I think it might confined to the Discworld).

I really can’t wait to crack on with Feet of Clay.

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