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Night Watch (Discworld #29)

4.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  71,887 Ratings  ·  1,418 Reviews
'Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come round again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.'

For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of bloody revolution. The people have found their voice at last, t
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 27th 2011 by Corgi (first published 2002)
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Night Watch by Terry PratchettGoing Postal by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry PratchettSmall Gods by Terry PratchettMort by Terry Pratchett
The Best of Discworld!
1st out of 49 books — 777 voters
The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingThe Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussA Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century
46th out of 1,851 books — 6,489 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 29, 2008 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My favourite Pratchett novel, but I'm not really sure why.

I think that Sam Vimes' being in it definitely helps: I think my favourite "series" in the Discworld novels are the City Watch series (along with the witches of Lancre and Death). His character arc really comes to a head in this one, even though he still has another level to go to in Thud!

I also think that time travel being in it also definitely helps. Though not the quantum, metaphysical, zany fun of Thief of Time (though Lu Tze makes an
Sep 24, 2007 Speedtribes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
While Terry Pratchett is known for the humor in his Discworld series, I enjoy them primarily because-- while on the surface, his books do indeed classify as humor, he also writes these almost painful realities, very human thoughts and incredibly immersive emotions in situations that you generally don't find in most humorous fantasy/sci-fi which tends more towards parody and caricatures. Though, I wouldn’t exactly say that the Discworld series isn't a parody-- because his books are parodies, or s ...more
May 10, 2015 Carol. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
from my blog at

Thud! Thud!

In one timeline, that’s the name of another Pratchett Discworld novel (the 34th, apparently).

In another, that’s the sound of me marching to my own drum.

In yet another, that’s the sound the vegetables thrown by my book-loving friends make when they hit my hard head.

Because, honestly, this was in between the “okay” and ‘liked it” kind of read for me. Given my GR friend average rating of 4.52, I’m missing something. Most likely
Dec 04, 2013 Merand rated it it was amazing
I may have said this when I finished the last Discworld book but this was by far the best Discworld book yet. Perhaps the best Pratchett book I've read. I loved it. It was not laugh out loud funny the way many of Pratchett's books are but it was so good. It was darker, delving into the history of Ankh-Morpork (Discworld's largest city) and allowing us glimpses into the past of several repeat characters, primarily Sam Vimes, Commander of the Night Watch, but also Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh- ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Morganlise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pratchett
If I could give this book ten stars, I would. In fact, it makes me rethink all of the other books that I've given five stars, perhaps they don't deserve it...

Here's the problem: This book isn't going to have the right impact unless you've read, at the very least, three of the previous Ankh-Morpork Night Watch books. Please, if you have heard about Pratchett and are looking for some place to start, go with "Guards Guards!" or "Mort", and read a few more before you embark on this one. You'll thank
Aug 04, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fantasy

This is rated as one of the best Discworld novels out there, a number of friends put this at the top of a highly rated pile so coming into this on those high hopes didn't take much for it to fall short for me.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this. It's a Watch novel which involves time travel. Talk about a winning combo! Add into that seeing all the characters you enjoy reading about at an earlier stage in their life, a revolution, and some quite emotional scenes then you have a recipe
Apr 28, 2015 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
I'm a sucker for a good story with time travel or reincarnation... I see a book with those themes and I snatch it up if I have the funds. There's just something about them :)

This one was on the good side... around page 240 or so it dragged for awhile but picked right back up. Other than that little blip, it kept my attention quite nicely and made me smile when I thought about Sam revisiting his memories and having doubts as to whether it was him or Keel.

I remember saying to him in my head "Don'
Dec 28, 2008 Lightreads rated it it was amazing
Another Watch novel, in which Sam Vimes Is accidentally transported decades into the past in pursuit of a murderous psychopath, whereupon he must play the part of the old Sergeant who first taught young Lance Corporal Sam Vimes what it means to be a copper. Meanwhile, political unrest spreads across the city, the old Patrician is on his way out, and the barricades are going up. Vimes knows what’s going to happen – he was there after all – and he’s visited the graves every year since. And now he’ ...more
Mar 31, 2012 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
One of the best books in the Discworld series. The story revolves around Sam Vimes, and it's a very good example of the author's shift from slapstick comedy to a subtler form of humor and to targetting in his imaginary world real problems from the world we live in.
Using the plot device of time travel, the author throws the Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch back to a revolutionary episode of the city history and to his own apprenticeship in the Watch. The theme offers the author rich picki
Night Watch isn't the best place to start Pratchett, not because it would leave a bad impression, but because you just won't get as much out of it as a seasoned fan. That's because it's a novel that doesn't just follow on from the events of previous books, but that culminates, explains, and perhaps even justifies them. The plot may be close to standalone - there are very few facts a newcomer would need to learn to understand the plot - but the examination of, and recontextualisation of not only ...more
Apr 17, 2008 Levka rated it it was amazing
I admit, I like Terry Pratchett a lot anyway, but "Night Watch" is hands down my favorite Discworld novels (Jingo comes in a distant second). One of the darkest and most complex of the City Watch stories, while pursuing a truly depraved criminal named Carcer, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes is thrown back through time on the eve of the birth of his son to help... well, himself. Ankh-Morpork is on the brink of revolution, and somebody's got to make sure young Sammy doesn't die before his time.

But it's
Vimes is one of Pratchett's characters that has grown greatly over the course of the Discworld series. This book affirms Vimes' place as the traditional family man, a far cry from where Vimes was when the reader is first introduced to him in Guards! Guards!.

The story itself highlights the growth of Anakh-Morpork as well as gives the reader valuable insight into the city's recurring, though not central, characters, such as Reg Shoe, Nobby, and Colon. Pratchett seems to really like Vimes, and in f
Olga Godim
Sep 21, 2013 Olga Godim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
Unlike most other Discworld novels, this is not a funny book. It’s exploratory and philosophical and delves deep into the natures of leadership and decency, courage and tolerance.
By accident, Sam Vimes, the Watch Commander of Ankh-Morpork and a Duke, is transported 30 years into the past, when the young Sam Vimes was just starting his work in the city police. The streets are boiling with unrest on the eve of a bloody rebellion, and it’s up to the older and much more experienced Vimes to preserv
Aug 06, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I am annoyed. I paid full price for this unprofessional formatting in the kindle ebook. Example of words-stuck-together: “Capital. I lookforwardto…our future cooperation, Sergeant. Your new captain willundoubtedly…inform you of other matters as he sees fit. Good day."

This type of glitch occurs numerous times, and the Audible version is also poor quality, with loud whirring sounds in the background, probably an artifact of CDs or cassettes. Bummer.

But sloppy formatting aside, it's a great book!
Mar 08, 2008 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 12
Pratchet is brilliant. The story is part of the 'Guards' sequence in the Disc World series. For non-Disc Worlders you have to understand that prolific Pratchet created a comic fantasy world called the Disc World and then proceeded to write stories set in different parts of it, with different characters etc that sometimes meet each other.

The Guards sequence centres on Sam Vimes who is a cop in the city of Ank-Morepork. It is kind of medieval, kind of modern. In this story Sam has risen to be comm
Whoa. Just...whoa.

This is not the comedy of Guards! Guards! No dragon in this book...just the dragon of mankind. So real, so raw, so...

Time travel. Corruption in the government and police forces. Revolution. Criminals. Assassins. And one man who dares to take a stand and lead others in moral rightness. This story is very dark as it deals with very realistic crime, bloody battle, devilish politics, and the Beast inside every man.

It also struck a little closer to home for me as the main character
L.J. Smith
Nov 10, 2013 L.J. Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: terry-pratchett
Where do I begin with this most beloved of books, by this most beloved of current authors? I guess I can start by explaining how I came to read the world-renowned works of Sir Terry “the new Chaucer”* Pratchett myself. It was because of a blog that I came across accidentally. The blogger was thrilled because a new Disc World book had come out in the USA, and she couldn’t wait to read about “Death’s granddaughter.” She added that she envied anyone who hadn’t read a single book in the fantasy seri ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Carbaes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016, favourites
Desde que conocí a Vimes, se convirtió en mi personaje literario favorito. Nunca tengo suficiente y los libros de la guardia son los que más pasajes señalados tienen.
Vimes, en estado puro, ha sido demasiado.
Si me vierais ahora, abrazando el libro...
Mary Catelli
May 28, 2015 Mary Catelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy, humor
A fairly late book in the Watch series. Improves on being read in sequence

The life of Sam Vimes. Living the uncomfortably posh life -- he can't really go on patrol, because the sergeant alert the men to straighten up, and the consolation of knowing he has sharp sergeants does not compensate for the lack -- and his wife is in labor -- and he gets word that a homicidal sociopath, Carcer, whom they've been looking for, had run into a guardsman just off duty and killed him. Top priority comes to cor
Jovana Vesper
"Zvuči kao prave-pravcate tunge. Ali ponekad ne mogu a da se ne zapitam: Šta bi se desilo da sam nekad postupio drugačije..."
"Kao ono kad ste ubili svoju ženu?"
Vajmsova ravnodušnost zadivila je Čistača.
"Iskušavate me, je li?"
"Brzo učite, gospodine Vajmse."
"Ali u nekom drugom univerzumu, verujte mi, zamahnuo sam i maznuo vas pesnicom."

Što bih volela da mi je Vajms ćale. Kakav je to lik, oštrouman, pošten, pravi Čovek. I same Bene Geseritke bi klimoglavile kad bi ga videle. Zapravo on mi se čini k
An Odd1
Mar 04, 2012 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, action, fun
"Night Watch" by Terry Pratchett. Duke Sam Vimes is Ankh-Morpork City Watch Commander, one privileged to don a purple sweet-scented lilac sprig for 25 May memorial of the Revolution. Many, including fellow officers, lost their lives, and corrupt dictator Patrician Winder was assassinated. Our hero is no longer the naive inexperienced novice recruit of weeks, mentored by senior John Keel of the night shift. Nor is pregnant wife Sybil young, her firstborn is due within hours.
Perhaps continuity wi
Oh, my. Oh, oh, oh my. I do love this book. Of all the Discworld books, I have read it the most often, and find something new to think about every time. I have a lot of trouble writing about my most-loved titles without sounding like a sniveling, sentimental sycophant, but I will try.

This particular book deals with heinous crime, time travel, the creation of a family, political intrigue and alternate histories, (or futures, depending on your POV). All of my favorite characters from Ankh-Morpork
Read this five or six times, now, and hadn't realized I hadn't put it in Goodreads until now.

It's the seventh Watch book in the Discworld; I think it probably requires a little bit of background. This is a shame, since it's a book I love enough I would like to be able to recommend that people read it with as little wait as possible.

It's about fear, and the problems inherent in trying to manage people, and secret police, and what you are and are not willing to give up for the right thing. History
Sigrid Ellis
Mar 17, 2015 Sigrid Ellis rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
This is the first Pratchett book I have liked.

I like it because Sam Vimes is a tired, practical adult insisting on plodding onwards towards decency.

I'm just too old for most books about teenagers and young adults out on their first forays in the world. When I was younger I read those books voraciously. I needed those stories. I craved them. But I'm older now, different now, and I find that the stories I want have also changed.

I like Vimes. I like him because he knows how desperately fucked-up th
Jun 03, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
This is a book about fatherhood. Yet the baby is only born at the very end. This is a book about the fact that when talking to a child, adults are often only talking to the child they once were. Yet it makes the rarely stated point that it might just be best if the adult simply didn't know the hard lesson they learned from whatever mistake the child is about to make. This is a book about revolution. Yet the change that comes is slow and insufficient.

This is a book about responsibility. And how a
I was right. It is my favorite Discworld novel so far. It is dark, gritty, hilarious, fun to read. And somehow, very real. It made me feel I was running chasing bad guys and tiptoeing along side Vimes. I would love a day hanging out with him, my fave character so far. And I think Vetinari was pretty awesome as well. Argh, can't wait to read the other Watch novels!
Shanshad Whelan
I think this is Pratchett at his best right here. It certainly is some of the best Vimes character work. A few of Pratchett's books have certain scenes that make me tear up. This one has quite a few--and many, many places where I simply want to quote whole paragraphs. Marvelous, profound and so undeniably human. Thank you, Mr. Pratchett, for this book.
Katka Heřmanová
Jun 05, 2015 Katka Heřmanová rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discworld, fantasy
Rozhodně mnohem temnější knížka, než na jaké jsem u Pratchetta zvyklá, ale zatraceně, stojí to za to. Je tu pár vážně skvělých myšlenek, mnohem víc poznáme Elánia... Co mě ale dostalo nejvíc byl Vetinari. Člověk snadno zapomene, že nebyl vždycky Patricij. Tahle knížka mi to nejen připomněla, ale hlavně jsem si díky ní Vetinariho vážně zamilovala.
Fantasy Literature
May 03, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it it was amazing
Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork’s City Watch has all but arrested Carcer, a serial killer who specifically targets members of the Watch, when they are thrown back in time.

Time travel is always inconvenient, but it is particularly trying for Sam Vimes, who is about to become a father. Worse, Vimes soon realizes this time in Ankh-Morpork’s history is especially awful because the city is about to revolt against the Patrician, Lord Winder. The people will revolt, Vimes remembers, and cavalrymen will put t
Vitor Frazão
May 17, 2016 Vitor Frazão rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Num mundo repleto de personagens magníficas, Vimes será sempre a minha favorita e cada livro com ele só reforça essa certeza. Entretenimento puro do início ao fim.
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Quantum 4 109 Dec 16, 2012 10:47PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: BBC Radio serial of Night Watch 9 44 Dec 05, 2011 11:26AM  
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,
More about Terry Pratchett...

Other Books in the Series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10)

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“No! Please! I'll tell you whatever you want to know!" the man yelled.
"Really?" said Vimes. "What's the orbital velocity of the moon?"
"Oh, you'd like something simpler?”
“We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything.” 695 likes
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