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Discworld #19

Feet Of Clay

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There’s a werewolf with pre-lunar tension in Ankh-Morpork. And a dwarf with attitude, and a Golem who’s begun to think for itself. But Commander Vimes is more concerned about the crime that’s happened. He’s got to find out not only whodunit, but howdunit too. He’s not even sure what they dun. But as soon as he knows what the questions are, he’s going to want some answers.

411 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

504 books41.3k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, 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, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,331 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 64 books233k followers
October 22, 2015
In my opinion, this is the book where Pratchett *really* hits his stride in terms of the city watch books. The characters are established, the setting is solid, and Pratchett is solidly in control of his craft here.

As I said before (or at least meant to say) the second book about the city watch was twice as good as the first. Similarly, this book is twice as good as the second one. Putting it solidly in the familiar A+ quality book that comprises easily half of Pratchett's work.

Of personal interest to me is the introduction of the Golem into the Discworld. In previous books, Pratchett has talked about issues of discrimination, but the Golems allow him to broaden the subject into a much larger discussion along the lines of "What makes a person a person?" and perhaps more importantly "What sort of person should a person be?"

It's also interesting to note the appearance of Buggy Squires who is called a Gnome. But for those who have read the entire series, he's obviously a precursor to the Nac Mac Feagles that eventually appear in the Tiffany aching books.

As an author, it's cool for me to see how that concept peeked its head up in Pratchett's work almost 10 years before it became fully realized in a much later book....

Is this book worth your time? Yes. A thousand times yes.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,850 followers
September 27, 2020
Golem slavery surrounding a conspiracy investigated by special City Watch forensic experts while a silent revolution takes place.

Golems, Hephaistos´ machines, and similar mythological stuff are examples of ancient storytellers dealing with the always current „They are stealing our jobs“ problem. Depending on genre preference, it can be seen as a fantastic ability to give life to dead objects, an alien ability to give technology to primitive humans, or be welcomed as the option that humans already had sophisticated technology, but ruined everything. But to stay on Earth, one may prefer the boring option that human creativity thought up much of the nano, robot, and technical revolution before there even was a smallest piece of modern technology available to degenerate with.

Indirect, subtle slavery, cemented with the argument that the victims are too primitive to understand their mistreatment and exploitation, is nothing classical, not dark fantasy uses to deal with in detail. Especially is having pretty profound, although partly illogical arguments, that could be seen as innuendos to both faiths and colonial history. The legitimation of good violence plays in here too, because it strongly depends on the own ideology and subjective value system if someone sees a group as freedom fighters or evil rebels that should be crushed with anyone the fair, great state, and its military can offer.

A simple reason why such controversial topics, Pratchett dares to and excels at dealing with, are rarely seen in fiction is that it needs both expertise and talent to perform it in a way that is not half baked satire, provoking, discriminating, making bad puns about horrible things, or, worst and inherent funny case, propaganda for something the writer wants to have criticized.
I am not sure if this is 100 percent correct, but as far as I know, Pratchett began dealing with the really heavy stuff when he already was a category mega writer who could handle plot, character, and the integration of the sophisticated, cynical meta level to reflect on human stupidity.

Once again I haven´t read enough crime, thriller, and detective novels to get all Pratchett offers the reader, I just can´t get warm with the genre, so many characters, so less worldbuilding, if there would at least always be extreme violence, gore, and madness, but often it´s even about personal relationships and just character´s motivations and the psychological investigation, no thanks, not my cup of beer. But at least I get more out of it than out of his satires of classical literature and that´s at least something.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews:
The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,944 followers
May 12, 2022
Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

One of the best Pratchett books, and possibly the funniest book ever written.

It took Terry Pratchett a decent number of books to really hit his stride, and while he certainly hit it before this book - this book feels like peak Pratchett when it comes to humor. This book feels like you are reading the literary version of a Naked Gun movie, not because the humor is the same, but because of the sheer volume of comedy that is given to the reader on quite literally every page. You can't help but laugh constantly, and when you are not laughing you have a constant smile on your face.

But it's not just the humor that makes this book absolutely wonderful, it's that Pratchett somehow gives you a healthy dose of philosophical musings that balance out the humor oh so perfectly. It's almost as if Pratchett needs his own genre, because he's the only author that I am aware of that is somehow able to achieve this balance.

The story here is nothing to write home about, but it almost never is in a Discworld book. It's really just a murder mystery, but the plot serves as a vehicle for the other things that make this book amazing.

Everyone needs to read the "City Watch" books, starting with Guards! Guards! You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 8, 2021
This may be the funniest Discworld novel.

And definitely one of the best.

Terry Pratchett, ever the clever turn of phrase artist, is here in rare form. This is literally chock full of puns, clichés, similes, metaphors and enough droll word play to make Nabokov choke a chicken. His easy, almost swaggering virtuosity makes this a fun read; I was literally reading the story, but waiting for and expecting his next verbal tickle.

It is as though when he got to this one, his 19th Discworld novel first published in 1996, he had hit his stride and was making it look easy.

Captain Carrot, Sir Samuel and the members of the City Watch are investigating a murder mystery, Lord Vetinari gets mysteriously attacked, there is a strange Golem uprising and Nobby Nobbs is getting some very unexpected attention.

And Foul Old Ron takes a bath.

Just kidding.

Besides the gigglingly good word play and the Ankh-Morpork action, Sir Terry explores themes of monarchy, leadership, gender roles and what it means to be alive.

If you’ve been thinking about getting started reading the Discworld (yes, you should) this would not be a bad start.

*** 2021 reread –

My return visit to the Discworld continues with this, his 19th novel set in his fantastic world building, his 3rd featuring the hilarious City Watch and being first published in 1996.

Leadership is a central theme, but also people’s need / want of leadership. Do we want to be governed, or do people in charge have a knack for making it seem that way? And who should be the leader? One born into the role as a hereditary monarch or one made for the role? Would the hereditary monarch be qualified for the job or would one who arrives at the position from behind the scenes machinations be a better fit?

All good questions that Sir Terry fields with his usual aplomb. He explores how Lord Vetinari, though not well liked, is grudgingly respected as things seem to run fairly smoothly under his guidance. We also find out about Sir Samuel’s ancestor Stoneface was the watchman who, ages ago, took matters into his own hands when needed.

All this and lots of golems. On the Discworld, a golem is a construct who is made to toil and knows no other existence. But do golems live? Do they think and dream?

Another great Discworld gem, a must read for fans and a good place to start if you have not read any others.

Profile Image for Joan Opyr.
11 reviews11 followers
July 7, 2010
What interests me most about Terry Pratchett is that he explores (with great subtlety and wit) issues that other fantasy and speculative writers only pay lip service to -- racism, sexism, identity politics. Pratchett's hero, Sam Vimes, dislikes everyone: Dwarves, trolls, werewolves, gnomes, and, most especially, vampires. He is an equal opportunity curmudgeon, but his dislikes (with the exception of vampires) are not based on the identity of "the other" as much as they are on the identity of Sam Vimes. He is, as he says repeatedly, a bastard. He has no faith in the goodness of humankind. He loves his wife, he loves his son, and he loves honesty. He is as unsparing in his assessment of himself as he is aware of the faults of the world around him.

And if this sounds like a dry assessment, then I have done Terry Pratchett a great disservice. He's one of the best writers out there, consistently smart and funny, and if you're feeling low, if the idea of a McCain-Palin administration has you breaking out in a cold sweat, then there is nothing more comforting than reading a book like Feet of Clay. Somehow, Sam Vimes' sour take on his Discworld makes me feel a bit better about our Earth.

And that, my friends, is the genius of comedy.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
March 21, 2021
Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19; City Watch, #3), Terry Pratchett

This book is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the nineteenth book in the Discworld series, published in 1996 for the first time.

The story, follows the members of the City Watch, as they attempt to solve murders apparently committed by a golem, as well as the unusual poisoning of the Patrician, Lord Vetinari.

Twelve of the city golems, clay creatures forced to obey the written instructions placed inside their heads, decide to create a "king" golem.

They fashion a golem from their own clay and place in his head instructions that would fulfill their hopes: "Bring peace to the world", "Treat everyone fairly" and so on.

They enroll the help of a priest and dwarf bread baker to write the sacred instructions and bake the clay, respectively; Meshugah, the "king" golem, is initially sent to work in a candle factory.

Around the same time, a cabal of Ankh-Morpork's guild leaders seeks to gradually depose the Patrician, replace him with Nobby Nobbs as the new king and rule the city through him.

To implement this, the cabal orders the golems' newly made king, Meshugah, to make poisoned candles and have them delivered to the palace.

Vetinari is successfully poisoned, making him severely ill. Meshugah, however, is "overloaded" by all the different instructions his creators gave him, and goes "mad": he starts overworking and, when he finishes raw materials, he rampages through the city, and goes on to murder the priest and baker who took part in his creation.

The golems that made him are horrified as murder violates their most base instructions and Meshugah was baked from some of their parts and is therefore “clay of their clay.” ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پانزدهم ماه آوریل 2020میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب نوزدهم: ؛ نویسنده تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفجه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های چهار فیل، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «��چ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفت‌انگیز و موش‌های آموزش‌دیده‌اش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هنگ بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوستال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهی‌های نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمه‌شب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/12/1330هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews209 followers
July 25, 2020
More tomorrow 😀😀

So where do I start with this novel, easy answer is to read any of my reviews for previous Sir Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. Seriously Sir Terry manages to maintain an unbelievable standard of humour and writing whilst developing a theme that lasts for over 40 books (i think). A cast of ever increasing characters that return in different settings and in their own books.
In this book we are back very firmly in Ankh-Morpork, and focussed one more on the Watch led by Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Everything seems to be happening at once, two unrelated people are murdered, Lord Vetinari is poisoned and Vimes desparetly wants a drink. Corporal Nobbs is buttered up by the leaders of Ankh Morpork society, Captain Carrot wants to show his "Friend" Angua a dwarf Bread museum , and with crime on the increase new people are joining the Watch every day; werewolves, "lady" dwarves, experimenting with make up; and gargoyles who are good at watching.
Can Vimes draw all the leads and clues together before the Guilds run riot and a King is produced to rule Ankh Morpork. Amidst the chaos and with the help of a self governing Golem, Vimes races to a conclusion, but is its the right one ?

A wonderful novel, worthy of the 5 stars
Profile Image for Nataliya Yaneva.
165 reviews330 followers
March 8, 2019
„Глинени крака“ е роман за относителността. За расовата и половата, но най-вече за относителността на свободата. Това е и роман за различието в гледните точки. Все пак доброто и злото са само въпрос на гледна точка. Разбира се, не на последно място, е роман и за Смърт на мишките.

Тери Пратчет развива доста сериозна тема години преди обществото да се разбуни за нея. Към момента въпросът за изкуствения интелект и дали той може да измести човека (и да го застраши физически) е доста актуален. Не съм много сигурна откъде иде страхът на хората, че собствените им творения може да се обърнат срещу тях. Може би е някаква прастара останка от идолопоклонничеството – направил си си ти тотем и се прекланяш на някакво божество, знаеш ли го, може и вътре някъде да е. Мери Шели е добавила готически отсенки на тази боязливост с „Франкенщайн“, Робърт Луис Стивънсън е продължил традицията със „Странният случай с доктор Джекил и господин Хайд“. Или пък на всички им е ясно, че когато потискаш нещо живо, рано или късно ще има да се каеш за това. При всички случаи си приклещен и го знаеш.

„… обществото, каквото ще да означава проклетата думичка, не винаги си пада по хората, които вършат или казват необходимото.“
Гóлемите на Тери Пратчет удрят по масата и задават логичния въпрос „Какво е да си жив?“. Това, че си създал някого, прави ли те негов господар? Ако питате християнството и Светата инквизиция като упълномощен представител на бог през средновековието – да. От какво трябва да си направен, за да ти е позволено да мислиш и да чувстваш и как разбираш, че имаш това право? Можеш ли да имаш душа, въпреки че си глинена буца? Илън Мъск например смята, че има вероятност хората да са просто пионки в нечия „електронна игра“, която някой е сътворил много отдавна и сега просто наблюдава как драпаме в мигновените си битиета. Ако е вярно (защото Мъск е един от по-ерудираните хора, за които се сещам), все пак ние душа нямаме ли… А гóлемите...?

„Но сега цялата машина, която бръмчеше толкова тихичко, че всички забравяха за съществуването ѝ и я бъркаха с естественото устройство на света, изведнъж пристърга зловещо.“
Обществото е капризен и сложен механизъм. Съставено е от множество зъбчатки, които трябва се движат в синхрон, за да върви работата. Както може да се очаква, това (почти) никога не се случва. „Глинени крака“ е метафора на разслоението, на счупената призма на самообявилия се елит и на борбата за равноправие. Не са пропуснати и тайните общества и джуджетата, които се питат дали е уместно да си обръснат брадатите. С риск да се повторя (кого заблуждавам, това го пиша във всичките си рецензии за романи на Тери Пратчет), не се сещам за друг автор, който да умее така точно да насини окото и да разкървави носа на статуквото и едновременно с това да те кара да подцвилваш от смях между изреченията.

Следващия път, когато се почувствате нещо повече от друг вид, запитайте се дали и вас не ви гледа нещо отнякъде и дали не си мисли същото.
„Той мисли, че е жив, и на мен туй ми стига.“
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
449 reviews273 followers
May 19, 2017
This book was my FIRST EVER read of Terry Pratchett works. I put 5 star rating because this book introduced me to a wonderful universe and a great author.

characters Discworld Watch Lineup by Ligeias-Ghost from Deviant Art

I highly recommend to read editions that have illustrations of coat-of-arms that appeared in the story. At my first read from a library book, it was a hardcover Gollancz edition with the coat-of-arms illustrations before the story began. Let's just say the coat-of-arms have significant part in the story. I would have problem imagine the coat-of-arms without the illustrations.

This novel is an excellent mix between parody humorous fantasy setting with crime mystery plot. A perfect enjoyable read for me. For people who had read other Watch stories, they could see the patterns in plots resemble the previous novels, with some improvements.

The only bad things are Patrician Vetinari and Lady Sybil has minor role on this book. They have more shining in other Watch novels.

Although I still recommend Guards! Guards! for starter novel of Watch series, and if you like Guards! Guards! then I beg you to read the series at least up to this book.

Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,100 followers
January 22, 2019
I really enjoy the City Watch novels because every character is a hoot. Vimes is off the hooch, Nobby is about to be crowned king, and there are truly mysterious murders going on. And attempted murders. Of Vetinari, no less.

This is one of those super-solid Discworld novels. Pratchett has his thing going on, full tilt. Discrimination is explored on a much broader basis than ever before and just imagine... GOLEMS! So everywhere that NO ONE NOTICES them. Solution?

Revolution. Of a sort. If you're going to demand your freedom, make damn sure you ask for a receipt. :)
Profile Image for Melindam.
664 reviews294 followers
May 27, 2023
While I gave 5 stars to both Guards! Guards! and Men at Arms, because they are about Samual Vimes and the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, I know that they are not the best books of either Discworld or the Watch sub-series. Especially compared to Feet of Clay, where you can clearly feel that Sir Terry really got into his stride both with characterisation, story and "message". Within the Watch-series, this is where things got sharp and the characters (Sam Vimes, Carrot, Angua...) already got that edge that got me totally intrigued and fascinated.

And here's looking at you Sherlock...

“Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues. He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!”
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
290 reviews125 followers
July 31, 2023
Another wonderful book in the City Watch series. While it offers the usual sociopolitical commentary, I’m really here for the hilariousness of it all. My favorite silliness was, hands down, Battle Bread – bread made exclusively as a weapon.

“Bread’s his life. He wrote the definitive work on offensive baking. […] [T]here were also buns, close-combat crumpets, deadly throwing toast and a huge dusty array of other shapes devised by a race that went in for food-fighting in a big and above all terminal way.”

I’ve also always particularly enjoyed when a new member of the City Guard was sworn in. It’s just always so wonderfully absurd.

“I, Dorfl, Pending The Discovery Of A Deity Whose Existence Withstands Rational Debate, Swear By The Temporary Precepts of A Self-Derived Moral System –“

More, please!
Profile Image for Trish.
2,016 reviews3,435 followers
January 23, 2019
This 19th Discworld novel is, once again, a small masterpiece. Yes, I‘m aware I sound like a broken record but it seems all of the novels have and keep this level of quality. It‘s something to behold.

This time, we are back in Ankh-Morpork, following Sam Vimes and the City Watch while they are trying to solve a few puzzling murders. It doesn‘t help that Vimes is a man of honour which means he‘ll keep his promise to his wife that he won‘t drink.
But the City Watch, now seriously enlargened and keeping to build Watch Houses, gets a charming addition: Cheery Little Bottom (a dwarf and alchemist). What better place to group together this bunch of misfits?
Soon, it‘s not just the murders they have to solve because Lord Vetinari has also been poisoned and even though he recovers regularly, he also keeps getting worse again shortly afterwards.
Not to mention that half the city is almost up in flames (literally) because of the golems.
But never fear, the City Watch is on the case. Or do fear ... fear very much.

Artificial intelligence (well, the Discworld version of it), racism/discrimination, misogyny, religious beliefs ... and Knobby being crowned king of Ankh-Morpork (almost). That‘s one hell of a combination and thanks to the quirky characters of the watch (Colon as much as Angua, too), it‘s a wild smelly ride that works wonderfully. I kept chuckling, often even laughing out loud. From the power of words to destiny, the truly fantastic puns the author kept working in are what are standing out the most here. This installment isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as others, but its humour is deep. Pratchett has always been great at putting a different spin at everyday expressions and conceptions but I think he put more of that in here (not least of all because the golems are all about the power of words).

My heart broke when . Tragic. And so life-like, of course.
Who I always love is Carrot. How he has no sense of humour (let alone sarcasm) whatsoever and what you see is what you get (or what he says). I especially enjoyed the scene with him „making others see his point“ (both the point of his sword and the point he was getting to when explaining the problem with the golems to people). And yet, despite a man of his word being the ideal, the author realistically shows what the shortcoming of such a person would be - because being only one thing is never enough, it can always backfire. Which is why he/we need(s) the others.

And despite Ankh-Morpork not being my favourite place on the Disc, I always feel at home, here, too. Which is why I thought it was such a wonderful scene when Vimes was able to take off his perfect boots at one point and exchange them against a used pair that let him feel every pebble as that is how he knows „his“ city.
Or his organizer!!! That was an source of endless delight. :D
Small scenes but definitely not unimportant. This is one of the strengths of Sir Terry: mundane (in a fantastical sense of the world) characters or settings or even only just one sentence delivering a powerful message, making this entire world come to life in a way that set the bar impossibly high for anyone else.

Once again, Nigel Planer brought to life a diverse cast of impossible characters and I‘m already sad to know that he won‘t narrate all of them. I love the paperbacks with their funny covers but the audiobooks give the entire thing an additional flair.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,012 reviews38 followers
July 18, 2022
Weekend activity: hanging out with hubby & daughter, listening to one of my favorite volumes of the amazing Discworld series! It was thrilling to see how much my family enjoyed this story also.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
811 reviews139 followers
May 15, 2021
Fantastic. One of the best in the series so far, in publication order. Pratchett's plotting really found its stride by this point. The ultimate villain was pretty weak, but the golems were amazing.

Notable for the introduction of Cherry Littlebottom, a female dwarf who bucks tradition to actually appear female. She was probably not fully intended by Pratchett to push acceptance of gender-bending, more likely just meant to emphasize his long-running broader theme of progress versus traditionalism, as cultural change develops in Ankh-Morpork and then disseminates to the rest of the Disc.
Profile Image for Kerri.
988 reviews369 followers
January 17, 2022
“Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
“It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
“That’s practically zen.”

The last book I read in 2021 and it was a great one to finish the year on! I'm keeping my Discworld reviews brief, just noting that this one is another instant favourite (and yes, I've said that about the books so far). I love Terry Pratchett's mind and I am glad I have this series to go on with in 2022. Reliably excellent, funny, emotional, insightful etc. Truly a wonderful series.

“You are in favour of the common people?” said Dragon mildly.
The common people?” said Vimes. “They’re nothing special. They’re no different from the rich and powerful except they’ve got no money or power. But the law should be there to balance things up a bit. So I suppose I’ve got to be on their side.”
“It wasn't by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities. You worked away, patiently asking questions and looking hard at things. You walked and talked, and in your heart you just hoped like hell that some bugger's nerve'd crack and he'd give himself up.”
“The real world was far too real to leave neat little hints. It was full of too many things. It wasn’t by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities.”
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,813 reviews315 followers
March 23, 2015
The butcher, the baker ...
23 March 2015

A part of me, upon learning of Sir Terry's death, thought that it was only fitting to make the next book that I read a Discworld novel; which turned out to be this one. I won't say anything about Sir Terry here as I have already written a blog post on his passing and instead will just speak about this book. In fact, it turned out that so far this was one of the best discworld novels that I have read (and that is saying something since there are quite a few contenders out there, and it also goes to show how great a writer he is if he can still hold my interest this far into the series).
At first Feet of Clay reminded me a lot of the movie I, Robot – you know the one where Will Smith discovers that the robots that were created to serve humanity are actually planning a takeover? The problem is that this book was written quite a few years before Will Smith took to the stage playing a cop in a movie that give the term 'loosely based' a completely new definition (and for those who have not seen the film, but read the book, the only similarities between the two is that they have robots in them – well, not quite, but you get the picture).
Mind you Feet of Clay is definitely a 'cop novel'. I would say a 'cop movie' but it is not actually a movie – it is a novel, but I guess the term is sort of transferable. Okay, it is partly a detective novel because there have been a couple of murders, as well as an assassination attempt (isn't if funny that if a person is unimportant then it is a murder, but if they are important they are assassinated – why can't I be assassinated, it would be much better than being murdered – at least in my opinion), and Captain Vimes is trying to find the person behind it. So Vimes (and the rest of the City Watch) goes out to investige the situation - it isn't as if it is an Agatha Christie novel: you know, set in a static place (unless you consider Anhk-Morpork a static place, but for some reason I really don't think that actually counts) where there are a bunch of culprits and you are supposed to work out the guilty party before the author gives it all away. Okay, Sir Terry does give us some clues, such as the Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker, but that doesn't necessarily tell you how the poison was administered (and it is quite clever in that regards).
So, what has this to do with robots, you ask? Well, the book is about golems - you know those creatures made of clay (or whatever non-living material may be at hand, including corpses, but in Discworld they are made of clay) who do other people's bidding. Well, they do play a role in this book, and they are effectively the magical version of a robot. Actually, to our modern mind, golems really seem to be a magical version of a robot, and Sir Terry plays that idea up to no end. What is interesting is that this idea goes back to the Ancient Greeks (though I can't quite remember which myth it was) where one of the gods, or was it a mortal, I can't remember which off the top of my head, did create something that was remarkably similar to a robot. There is also another legend, from the Jewish Quarter of Prague, where a golem was created to protect the Jews from their enemies (a legend that I discovered when I actually visited that city where I picked up a book called The Prague Golem).
Interestingly enough he is also playing up the fears of automation in this book as well. We, or at least the working class, don't like robots because they take away our jobs. However these robots are so much more efficient, and faster, than any human could ever be. In Discworld we are told that golems do not eat, sleep, or require any maintenance so they are much better than the ordinary worker. However, the problem is that they scare people, they scare people because they are so life like, yet they are unliving. In a sense they have a body, and a mind, but they have no soul. This is probably why I connected it with I Robot (the movie, not the book) because, in many ways, the robots were so creepy because of that very thing. In every sense of the word they were alive, but in reality they were not. Okay, they aren't undead – at least undead beings were at one stage alive, but they are not exactly living either.
Anyway, I should probably finish this review off here, though I should say that I really enjoyed this book, and am compelled to continue reading his books right down to the final one. I'm not sure if I will get to the last one, but at least I will try.
Also, for those who are interested, you can find my tribute to Terry Pratchett here (and sorry, it may not be as fancy as hiding it in computer code, but I felt that I should probably write one anyway).
Profile Image for Daria.
425 reviews260 followers
February 6, 2022
у цій книжці мені надзвичайно сподобалася дружба між Анґвою і Смішинкою Малодупко, go go girls
Profile Image for Richard.
452 reviews108 followers
May 21, 2015

Another great entry into the Discworld series overall and makes it hard for me not to think I made an error not starting the Watch sub-series as my first foray into Discworld. The 3 novels I’ve read in this sub-series have probably all been better than the other Discworld books I’ve read previously (maybe exclude “Going Postal” in that). It may be that I have a better affinity with crime driven stories so I can get on board with the plot quicker but I just think it might have something to do with the cast of characters which add to the story.

With this being the 3rd entry in the sub-series the main set of characters are well fleshed out by now with the reader knowing their nuances and this means more fun can be had with them and also allow some of the side characters to have more of an input and make for some of the more humorous moments in the novel. Detritius is a standout side character here and Cheery Littlebottom adds another dynamic with the life in the Watch. I enjoyed the way Terry Pratchett looks at, and pokes fun at, sexism in institutions in this one. Some of the more humorous moments in the whole Discworld series come from the attitudes of people which are clearly a reflection on the attitudes of people from our world but with Pratchett’s unique humour added to it.

The story is pretty much a “whodunit” if you can really call it that. It’s driven along by this but there is so much going on here to enjoy it sort of felt like a side part of the book as a whole. It works well though as I had no idea who the mystery person was and when it was revealed it lead to a huge “of course!” moment from me. Well done to Terry for pulling the wool over my eyes. It made me feel like Vimes in that I can’t see something right in front of me.

This also brings me to the moments between Vimes & Vetinari. By far the standout moments of the book for me comes in the interactions of these two. Both are wily in their ways but both get the job done even if it is by manipulation of the other. I look forward to these moments more and more.

Overall a great book, well worth a read but I’d recommend starting with “Guards! Guards!” first as there is definitely more to appreciate having read about these characters beforehand. If the upwards trajectory of these stories continue I can’t see how the next one won’t reach the elusive 5 star rating, the last 3 have only just missed out. I guess there is only one way to find out. Bring on the next one!!

If you like this try: ”Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett
Profile Image for Pavle.
423 reviews141 followers
March 20, 2018
Uvek kad počnem da čitam Pračeta kako bi me razveselio, završim tužniji nego pre. Ovaj pasus je dobar primer zašto:

“For Cockbill Street was where people lived who were worse than poor, because they didn’t know how poor they were. If you asked them they would probably say something like ‘mustn’t grumble’ or ‘there’s far worse off than us’ or ‘we’ve always kept uz heads above water and we don’t owe nobody nowt.’
He could here his granny speaking. ‘No one’s too poor to buy soap.’ Of course, many people were. But in Cockbill Street they bought soap just the same. The table might not have any food on it but by gods, it was well scrubbed. That was Cockbill Street, where what you mainly ate was your pride.“

Jer, uz par korekcija, ova(j niz) rečenica nije samo srpska, nego je i univerzalna.

I tako, ja uvek Pračetovu knjigu završim depresivniji nego što sam bio. Medjutim, i ovo je ono što je stvarno važno ovde, ne i rezigniraniji.

Profile Image for Cynthia Egbert.
2,235 reviews27 followers
June 12, 2021
As a parent and a mentor to youth, the end of this book totally grabbed me as it had not done before. The idea that someone could go as wrong as the king golem because of too many words put in his head...and then the heart wrenching words from Dorfl as he died "WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN". I am posting this on my mirror to remind me that I need to put words in the hearts of those I teach, from my children on down and not just in their heads. As always, I love this book...after all, it shows Sir Samuel Vimes doing some of his finest work...

Some quotes I loved:

"I FIND THE BEST APPROACH IS TO TAKE LIFE AS IT COMES." (stated by DEATH and reminiscent of my favorite song...)

"The only thing more difficult than getting him to grasp an idea was getting him to let go of it."

"Mysteries had a way of getting bigger if you didn't solve them quickly. Mysteries pupped."

"It was easy to be a vegetarian by day. It was preventing yourself becoming a humanitarian at night that took the real effort." (concerning Angua, a werewolf)

"They think they want good government and justice for all, Vimes, yet what it is they really crave, deep in their hearts? Only that things go on as normal and tomorrow is pretty much like today."

"If you were going to be successful in the world of crime, you needed a reputation for honesty.

"You had to be on the side of underdogs because they weren't overdogs."

"No thought was involved. It is the ancient instinct of terriers and policemen to chase anything that runs away."

"With the buzz of other people around him, he didn't seem to get in the way of his own thoughts."

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

"No one can be as sane as he is without being mad."

"The royal lines had died out throught interbreeding so intensively that the last king kept trying to breed with himself."

"A horrible apprehension had stolen over him that almost all the answers were in place now, if only he could work out the questions."

"When you've made up your mind to shout out who you are to the world, it's a relief to know that you can do it in a whisper."

"Someone has to be very complex indeed to be as simple as Carrot."

"The common people? They're nothing special. They're no different from the rich and powerful except they've got no money or power. But the law should be there to balance things up a bit. So I suppose I've got to be on their side."

"Atheism is a religious position. Indeed a true atheist thinks of the gods constantly, albeit in terms of denial. Therefore, atheism is a form of belief. If the atheist really did not believe he or she would not bother to deny."

"You say to people 'throw off your chains' and they make new chains for themselves."

Profile Image for Cynnamon.
571 reviews102 followers
January 15, 2021
Even when measured against the high level of Discworld novels, this novel is outstanding.

As usual, Terry Pratchett discusses a number of moral-philosophical questions in his story. They seem particularly deep to me in this volume.

The story is about a poison attack on Lord Vetinari, various people with claims to nobility, golems and the city guard who takes care of all these issues.

In this context, the author deals with questions such as: Does ancestry enable a person to rule over other persons or is ancestry nothing more than an animal breeding program? or What actually is life or when does a creature live? As in all of his books, the whole thing is wrapped in a great deal of, often grotesque, humor that you have to like to enjoy Terry Pratchett's stories.

For my part, I enjoyed myself even more than usual and also found plenty of clues that I think are worth contemplating about. In my opinion, the book was a complete success and definitely worth 5 stars.
Sogar gemessen am hohen Niveau der Scheibenwelt-Romane ist dieser Roman herausragend.

Wie üblich diskutiert Terry Pratchett in seiner Geschichte eine Reihe moralphilosophischer Fragen. Mir erscheinen sie in diesem Band besonders tiefgehend.

In der Geschichte geht es um einen Giftanschlag auf Lord Vetinari, um diverse Personen mit Adelsanspruch, um Golems und um die Stadtwache, die sich um all diese Themen kümmert.

In diesem Umfeld behandelt der Autor Fragen wie: Befähigt die Abstammung eine Person über andere Personen herrschen oder ist Abstammung nichts anderes als ein Tierzuchtprogramm? oder Was ist eigentlich Leben bzw. wann lebt eine Kreatur? Wie in allen seinen Büchern ist das Ganze in sehr viel, oft auch grotesken Humor verpackt, dem man mögen muss, um Gefallen an Terry pratchetts Geschichten zu finden.

Ich für meinen Teil habe mich sogar noch mehr als üblich amüsiert und fand auch reichlich Anhaltspunkte, die ich für nachdenkenswert halte. In meinen Augen war das Buch also ein voller Erfolg und auf jeden Fall 5 Sterne wert.

Profile Image for K.M. Weiland.
Author 33 books2,333 followers
May 27, 2022
I adore Pratchet. Or maybe I just adore Captain Carrot. ;) Regardless, Pratchett’s genius is on full display here in yet another entry in which he somehow manages to write a book that is both “light reading,” low-brow comedy, good-natured affirmation of humanity, and high-brow philosophy all at the same time.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,451 reviews474 followers
February 4, 2018
2008 January 1

It probably shouldn't be allowed for a writer to have this much fun with a mystery story.


2014 August 20

More mysteries: who is poisoning Vetinari, and, more importantly, how? Who killed the two old men? Why are the golems suddenly acting odd?

Vimes is hard at work on the first question, Carrot is looking into the second and third. Vital assistance is provided by Angua, Detritus, Colon, and Nobbs. Also, there's a new member of the watch, formerly of the alchemists, Cheery Littlebottom. His job is to run the forensics, His role in the book is to open up the questions of minority members of the force and gender identity.

Pratchett uses various species to show how everyone has prejudices and how getting to know a member of a species does a great deal to dispel them. Well, it does if one is a good person. The bad guys persist in cruel stereotyping regardless.

There's been some research recently into reader identification (with characters in the Harry Potter series) and what effect that has upon readers' empathy. Pratchett uses magical creatures just as Rowling does, to continually push at the definition of "human" and to demonstrate how people can behave morally without the imposition of gods or religions. Pratchett's funnier, though.

Personal copy.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,768 reviews1,768 followers
December 31, 2015
Awwwwww. I didn't expect to feel so heartwarmed over a Discworld book, but damn if this book didn't me feel all fuzzy inside. I'm just such a sucker for stories about, well, what this book is about. SPOILERSSS.

So this is a City Watch book, and that means several things: Captain Samuel Vimes doing good deeds and being very grouchy about it, Carrot being overly literal and good at his job while everyone likes him with no effort on his part whatsoever, and the other members of the Watch being also good at their jobs, except almost by accident. This time, they've got to track down a murderer who seems to be killing people for seemingly no reason, another who is trying to assassinate the Patrician, and all while the city's golems are acting very, very strangely.

As with all of Pratchett's books, you're not really sure what you're in for at the beginning of the book, and it all seems to be pretty random, but then it starts to come together, and you're like, oh. All of a sudden you're all wrapped up in a story about class concerns, what it means to be a public servant, what it means to be a person, and also, a story about what if Nobby Nobbs was actually a secret earl and has to eat all this fancy food.

All in all, yes to this book, would read again.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,275 reviews228 followers
December 20, 2018
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2018.

Back to the Watch sub-series and the introduction of Cheery Littlebottom to the force, the new Watch alchemist/forensics corporal and female dwarf. Just in time for a case that needs lots of forensics support, involving odd sorts of clay, golems and poison.

This has always been one of my favorite of the Watch series, introducing Cheery Littlebottom and Dorfl and even Wee Mad Arthur (who gets a retcon much later in the series that actually sees this book as the first reference in the series to ). And like the rest of the Watch series the crime is interesting and the structure of Ankh-Morpork is always entertaining, particularly with Vetinari, but overall its the ongoing characters of the Watch that make the book shine.

Profile Image for R.R. López.
Author 10 books96 followers
October 24, 2016
Haré una reseña más extensa en mi blog, pero debo decir que este libro me ha gustado mucho, casi más que hombres de armas.

Quizá las aventuras de la anterior entrega eran más dinámicas, pero encuentro el trasfondo de crítica social de este libro más profundo, aunque a algunos les sorprenda que diga esto de un libro de Pratchett.

Me reafirmo, los libros de Pratchett tienen mucha tela que cortar debajo de la apariencia de fantasía y humor.

En este libro he descubierto a mi nuevo personaje favorito de Mundodisco: Pequeño Loco Arthur.

Una mezcla entre David el gnomo y el gitano que interpreta Brad Pitt en Snatch: cerdos y diamantes.
Profile Image for Tanya.
500 reviews271 followers
December 25, 2021
This book was just delightful, cemented the City Watch as my favorite Discworld subseries, and marked the first novel where I wasn't only riding along for the chuckles and veiled social commentary, but where I was really and truly invested in the murder mystery Pratchett spun. Well, a mystery of a different kind—Commander Vimes isn't only determined to find out whodunit, but howdunit too, and we see the introduction of forensics in Ankh-Morpork.

“Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues. He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!”

The characters have been sufficiently fleshed out in the previous books, so we get right down to the good stuff. Some plot patterns resemble those of previous novels in the sub-series, but it's been vastly improved and works seamlessly, which is one of the things I often have to lament—Pratchett often spins multiple diverging plot-lines, but ultimately fails at properly tying them up, which makes for a choppy reading experience... but that wasn't an issue in Feet of Clay at all.

As the title suggests, this novel sees the introduction of the Golem, which allowed him to expand on the issues of discrimination he's explored before with trolls, dwarfs, werewolves and other "minorities", this time expanding the question to what makes a person a person in the first place, on top of themes regarding gender, monarchy, stereotypes, and morality without religion. And all of it is hilarious. I usually find myself smiling at his witty word-play and jokes, but this one had me snort-laughing.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: The City Watch books are my favorite, and the perfect place to start for anyone interested in starting their Discworld journey.


My other reviews for the City Watch sub-series:
1: Guards! Guards! · ★★★★
2: Men At Arms · ★★★★★
3: Feet of Clay · ★★★★★
4: Jingo · ★★★
5: The Fifth Elephant · ★★★★
6: Night Watch
7: Thud!
8: Snuff

All my reviews for the Discworld series in publication order (work in progress):
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,331 reviews

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