Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24)” as Want to Read:
The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fifth Elephant (Discworld #24)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  36,510 ratings  ·  673 reviews
Sam Vimes is a man on the run.

Yesterday he was a duke, a chief of police and the ambassador to the mysterious, fat-rich country of Uberwald.

Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya (don't ask). It's snowing. It's freezing. And if he can't make it through the forest to civilization there's going to be a terrible war.

But there are monsters
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 4th 1999 by Doubleday (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fifth Elephant, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Martin Mcgerr It is a watch novel with Vimes travelling to Uberwald for the crowning of the low king, Anguas family are involved along with vampires and deep…moreIt is a watch novel with Vimes travelling to Uberwald for the crowning of the low king, Anguas family are involved along with vampires and deep dwarves as they look to find out about who stole the scone of destiny(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kristen
I know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in his writing; however I feel that it has been for the better. As his book have progressed, he has leaned less toward the quick giggle and insane rush of nonsense and more toward a satirical plot with darker edges and the giggles interspersed within the story rather than his jokes running the story.

The Fifth Elephant is one of Pratchett’s more plot dr
...more
Melki
Aw, man!

First the Scone of Stone goes missing. Then Angua disappears and Carrot is off to find her. With Sam Vimes on his way to the coronation in Uberwald, that leaves Fred Colon as Acting Captain of the Watch. The horror, the horror! He annoys everyone and makes a general mess of everything...not to mention that his "principles" make him reluctant to investigate the death of a local manufacturer of rubber preventatives.

Sound confusing? It's not. At least, not yet.

Throw in some assorted dwarf
...more
Richard
8.5/10

Back to form after a disappointing outing last time with Jingo. This is another stonking effort in the Watch sub-series making it hard for me not to start raving about them to people and tell them if they’ve not read them then they need to pick them up and get cracking!

Plot wise things are shaken up again. I did groan a little when I learnt that Vimes would yet again be leaving Ankh-Morpork for a distant land like in the last novel, but this time it proved to be an inspired choice and work
...more
apple
Aug 31, 2011 apple rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to apple by: Teena R.
Shelves: fantasy
Please allow me one quick soul-searching moment. Before I was introduced to the awesomeness of Discworld…I was just an empty shell of a fan

I haven’t picked up Discworld book for quite some time (last one I read was Jingo) so reading the Fifth Elephant kind of gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling of falling in love with Sir Terry Pratchett’s work all over again. I think this book is the most action-packed volume in City Watch series yet. Imagine Bruce Willis all decked out in tights with British ac
...more
Nathan
Complete Discworld Reread

And just like that the series starts to change. Opens up, shows signs that Discworld is not just a series of random places where things happen but is instead a living, breathing world. People interact, and not just for war. ‘Foreign places’ are not just places to visit and fix; they are places where people live and cultures thrive. The signs that Pratchett’s series is going to start exploring the effects of some major technological changes are present but not yet runnin
...more
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Published : 6/11/2008
Author: Terry Pratchett
Recommend for: fan's of fantasy books and other Terry Pratchett novels.
Award: Nominee for Locus Award for Fantasy

Another amazing book written by an amazing author! In this book we see the characters Nobby Nobbs, the wonderful Sam Vines, Havelock Vetinari , Carrot Ironfoundsson plus many more amazing characters. The setting of this novel is Uberwald.

This is another great book that transports us into the world that he has created, we go on the adventure
...more
Olga Godim
This time, Sam Vimes plays a diplomat. Lord Vetinari, the ruler of Ankh-Morpork, sends Vimes to Uberwald to represent the city during the coronation of the dwarfs’ new king. Unfortunately, Uberwald is a backward country. Industry is undeveloped, except in the dwarfs’ mines. The werewolves rampage and eat people unchecked. The vampires plot quietly. The dwarves squabble over millennium-long traditions. A powerful dwarven relic has been stolen (shhh, it’s a secret), various factions of dwarves vie ...more
John
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series really caught me by surprise. I _expected_ airy, humorous fantasies with a satirical edge to them (I picked up on this from the title of the first one I read: GOING POSTAL). But that description does not do these books justice. These are good stories, regardless of the fact that many of the characters are fantastic or supernatural creatures (including a talking dog).

The main character of this book (Sam Vimes - featured in many of the Discworld novels) is on a d
...more
Kathleen
This is one of my favorites in the Discworld "City Watch" series, because it's got a strong plot without being bogged down in pithy puns and endless parody (but there's plenty of that, still). I adore Police Commander (Duke of Ankh) Sam Vimes, the Patrician (city dictator) Lord Vetinari, and the whole multi-species gang. Sometimes the tone gets a bit teachy / preachy, and some puns have me rolling my eyes, but still, jolly good satire. Action, suspense, characters to care for, plus witty politic ...more
Kaethe
2010 October 3

I'd have given him five stars for the riff on The Cherry Orchard alone. Vampires, werewolves, politics, fat mining. Pratchett manages to write a really fun book that is also a mystery as well as a keen satire on emigrants and the old country.

Personal copy
Patrick
There's worse ways to start the year than reading some Pratchett. So that's what I did.

I've only read this one one once before, and that was years back, so it was fun and pretty fresh for me.

I'm a big fan of Vimes, but even given my bias, this is a great book. Probably not on the level of Pratchett's best (Monstrous Regiment, Thud, Wee free Men) but still a great book.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Funny, gripping. Hinges on tradition, change, diplomacy and Sam Vimes' ability to be the most dogged policeman in existence, and interestingly on a smelly little dog's somewhat parallel abilities. Lots of great side-plots and gags. Everything perfectly balanced, a delectable repast served up by a master chef.
Julie
I want to embark on an chronological Discworld in memoriam reread, but for now I started by revisiting The Fifth Elephant for Reasons. Gosh, I love this book: diplomacy and spycraft set in an old Germanic continent, in which the Gothic runs rife, the forests are deep and dark and dangerous, and there are supernatural beasties around every corner. (The races to get home before sunset being a fun Uberwaldean hobby is just the cutest.)

What struck me the most about rereading this book is that while
...more
Tom
Not sure if this is my favourite Discworld book I've read, but it's probably my favourite Watch book.

Everything about it was marvellous:
* Sam Vimes is such a complex character and he gets more and more fascinating and likeable with each book. I totally dug the moral stuff near the end about taking the life of a murderous person.
* The setting of Bonk was really good, and well-realised, with all the factions that Vimes has to deal with.
* Cheery and Detritus getting tons of screen time is great fun
...more
Karen
Oh hi there. Were you looking for another 'review' where I talk about how much I love these books? GOOD CAUSE THAT'S WHAT IS HAPPENING.
I've always enjoyed The Fifth Elephant. Political intrigue, great cast, and explorations of dwarf culture in the Discworld. It's also just your classic Vimes mystery, superimposed on 'diplomacy' and politics. The setting is one of the key things that makes this book really good - Vimes and the Watch are filling their usual roles, but in a country where they reall
...more
Paul Cude
My favourite book in the whole world...and the one I'd have to have on a desert Island. The whole story is so compelling and I can picture all of it, in the very last detail in my head. Clearly the author had been caught speeding or some traffic offense of one sort or another around the time he wrote the book, because the opening squence just shouts that out and is magnificent....Nobby Nobbs in a dress...what a thought! The twists and turns in the plot are just brilliant and the best bit of the ...more
Maria
Jun 15, 2015 Maria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I'm glad I'm reading Discworld in chronological order...or trying to anyway. Carpe Jugulum and The Fifth Elephant are very different books but they go together very well.
Deborah Ideiosepius
A long time since I read this one last, it was almost like reading it for the first time.

Part of the city watch series, Sam Vimes is hijacked by Lord Vetinari and Sybil into being the ambassador for Anke Morpork in Uberwald where a King of dwarves is to be crowned. (and I can't begin to describe how much my spell checker hates that last statement).

Once there of course crimes worthy of Commander Vimes crop up complicated by the fact that he is not in Anke Morpork and is not a commander of the wat
...more
Jon
Jun 11, 2015 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Another City Watch novel, another five-star rating. Easily the funniest and greatest group of characters in Discworld.

This one brings us right back to the land of Uberwald where we found ourselves in the previous installment Carpe Jugulum. However, instead of vampires as the predominant focus, we get to visualize werewolf and dwarf society. Commander Vimes is sent on an important ambassadorial mission from Lord Vetinari. Of course, he's not very good at turning off the policeman personality and
...more
Jamie
Another fun Pratchett book featuring the Night Watch. I love Vimes, and the story stays with him most of the time as he undertakes a diplomatic mission to Uberwald, which is full of vampires and werewolves and dwarfs, oh my. Lady Sybil, who I also thoroughly enjoy, travels with him.

I didn’t think there was anything particularly brilliant about this one, but I am still giggling over the Scone of Stone.
Thomas Arvanitis
The City Watch series of books (part of the Diskworld series)keeps getting better with each book. The "Fifth Elephant" is the best one so far, building on the existing characters and introducing some delightful new ones. The highlight of the book was the sequence of Vimes being hunted by werewolves. Priceless.
Laura
Wherein Angua goes home and we learn that, like so many aliens on the Enterprise, her family is very influential locally. And Vimes pulls a bit of Cool Ankh-Morpork on the natives.
Wastrel
Probably the best Watch novel so far in the cycle (i.e. ignoring Night Watch, which is still to come). Has a strong feel of finality and conclusion, the old world of Discworld coming to an end, with Sam Vimes (temporary ambassador to Uberwald) as the unstoppable hand of progress, reason, and cultural and economic imperialism, as Ankh-Morpork's semaphore towers march mountain by mountain into the unmapped, savage, deep dark wood, where werewolves and vampires have carved up the human population ( ...more
Kathleen
Put him in tights, call him Your Grace, and send him off as an ambassador, but Sam Vimes is a cop. Where there are cops there's crime.

The Watch goes to Uberwald, where werewolves, vampires, and traditional dwarves keep a tenuous peace. Of course, Vimes can be a very upsetting character. An openly female dwarf and a troll wielding siege weaponry aren't exactly a low profile retinue.

These books continue to be funny and spot on. I highly recommend this just read the Watch books reading order.
P. Aaron Potter
This is my other contender (with "Feet of Clay") for the best of Pratchett's Discworld books. It's not merely fantasy: it's literature. No, it's Literature, with a capital "L," because it accomplishes all literature ever sets out to do: engage an audience, suspend disbelief, and effortlessly hide its didactic purpose while making trenchant observations about the human condition.

Unlike pure "fantasy," Pratchett's novels can't quite achieve the quality of escapism, because it is far too easy to re
...more
Claudiu
Apr 03, 2012 Claudiu rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the series, Fantasy fans, wit fans, fans fans fans
Recommended to Claudiu by: Andreea
One can never accuse Terry Pratchett of needing a wordcount trim. If anything he'd do with some fattening up usually.

The Nightwatch books seldom disappoint. This wasn't the case, as the high star rating would indicate. It's a fun romp with a fun little plot and fun characters that just grow and grow and grow on you.
It's amazing how every book set on the Discworld manages to advance things and yet keep them delightfully the same. It may sound a bit corny but this is one world that shouldn't chan
...more
Sally
So far I've read 31 of the Discworld books, and The Fifth Elephant is the 5th of the stories featuring Sam Vimes and the City Watch. With reading many books by the same author comes a tendency to say one or another was a favorite. This one was perhaps a favorite for me, not because of the story line, although it was as good as are most of them, but because I caught myself chuckling out loud a number of times. I even had to read aloud little bits to my husband because he'd ask me what I was laugh ...more
Jonathan Palfrey
I think this is one of the better Discworld books, in principle, but I'm reluctant to give it more than three stars because, although quite funny initially, it becomes rather disagreeable towards the end. Seriously unpleasant characters, serious conflict, serious casualties: just what you might expect from some novels, but not quite what I expect from a Discworld novel.

It's a kind of City Watch book, in that all the City Watch characters are involved, but in this one Sam Vimes is sent to Uberwal
...more
Caitlin
I don't really know how to sum up my love for this book in words. The characters are amazing: Sam Vimes is always good for any sarcasm or witty comebacks, Carrot with his innocence, I don't even know where to start with Ventinari. It's just so good!

READ IT!! (But first please read the others with the Watch in it. That'd be Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay and Jingo. All also amazing books that I love.)

I mean I loved it so much that I read it in one day, staying up until 1 o'clock to fi
...more
mina
Salah satu dari Discworld series Hasil ngiler-ngiler di Kino. Kelamaan ngiler akhirnya terbeli juga. Sekali ini bagian dari subseries Night Watch, pasca Vimes menikah dengan Lady Sybil. Saat Night Watch bukan lagi Night Watch saja, tapi sudah menjadi The Watch, sebuah Guild sendiri. Ini buku kedua subseries ini yang aku baca, sesudah Men at Arms.

Sekarang Watch (versi Polisi-nya kota Ankh-Morpork) sudah berkembang pesat, dan semakin banyak kaum minoritas yang terwakili :p Kalau waktu di Men at Ar
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett 4 20 Dec 31, 2014 03:06PM  
  • Who's Afraid of Beowulf?
  • The Brentford Chainstore Massacre
  • Legends 1 (Legends 1, Volume 1of2)
  • The Wyrdest Link: A Terry Pratchett Discworld Quizbook
  • Bad Prince Charlie
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland
1654
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
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)
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1) Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1) Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1) Night Watch (Discworld, #29; City Watch #6)

Share This Book

“He'd noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination - but at the end of the day they'd settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.” 338 likes
“A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.” 187 likes
More quotes…