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Men at Arms

(Discworld #15)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  79,680 ratings  ·  1,869 reviews
'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.'

The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable
Mass Market Paperback, 377 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by HarperPrism (first published November 11th 1993)
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Daniela Not really. Most of the main Discworld novels are meant for adults (though in my experience, teenagers would like them as well). However, T. Pratchett…moreNot really. Most of the main Discworld novels are meant for adults (though in my experience, teenagers would like them as well). However, T. Pratchett has written several Discworld novels geared toward younger readers (10-13 years or so). Try "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" or "The Wee Free Men."(less)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  79,680 ratings  ·  1,869 reviews

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Start your review of Men at Arms (Discworld, #15; City Watch #2)
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell w
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in the City Watch storyline in the Discworld novels. And I have to say, it's probably twice as good as Guards Guards.

All the characters are more fully realized and more compelling. What's more, it's obvious to me reading now that Pratchett has multi-book plans for the central characters: Carrot, Vimes, and Angua.

Detrius also has a pretty strong secondary arc in this one, and we see the begining of some of Pratchett's Troll Vs. Dwarf discussions that come to beautiful fru
Brandon Sanderson
(This review is from 2006.)

All right, the short of it is I really liked the book. The long of it is, I’m very annoyed at Terry.

Those of you who have been following things here know that I just sold the Alcatraz books to Scholastic. They’re essentially humorous fantasy—evil librarians running the world and all that. I wrote them because I was a little frustrated at the market. I could find funny books (Snicket) and I could find books with good worldbuilding (Pullman) and I could find books with c
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was Terry Pratchett the English Kurt Vonnegut?

Here is another example of playful satire that thinly hides a stinging social and cultural admonishment. In his 1993 Discworld novel Men at Arms (the 15th Discworld adventure and the second to feature Sam Vimes and his City Watch crew) Sir Terry tackles such heavy subjects as racism, sexism, political correctness, class distinctions and the inhumanity of marshal technology but in a decidedly not-too-heavy format; impishly mocking what needs mocking a
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2018-shelf
Discworld Re-Read project #15. :)

I remembered that there was one particular Watch novel that lunged the entire Watch novels out of the stratosphere in terms of how much I grew to LOVE them. I had forgotten that THIS was that novel.

Vimes was great, but who really stole the show was Carrot. I'll love Vimes a lot more in the future, but for now, Carrot is KING.

Or not. That's a matter of perception and some small debate, all of which Carrot himself will probably have the right precedent and moral ou
So, what do I think ? Well, when I started (in Jan 19) (re)reading these Discworld novels in order (it had been some years since I last read any of them) I started remembering characters from my earlier reads. I remember thinking " oh Rincewind is just excellent", then it was" oh but the three witches are so funny", and of course" DEATH is the best character, and then as you move through the books, you come across the Night Watch and you suddenly realise that they are your new favourite.

This boo
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread - the last time I read it was so long ago I don't remember:)

Such a good book! This man only wrote good books and he is much missed. Men at Arms has to be a hit with me because it contains so many of my favourite characters. There is Corporal Carrot who was adopted as a child by dwarves but is probably the disinherited King of Ankh-Morpork. He has so much charisma he changes the world just by being in it. Captain Vimes is there too, about to get married and leave the Force and
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vimes smiled. Someone was trying to kill him, and that made him feel more alive than he had done in days.
And they were also slightly less intelligent than he was. This is a quality you should always pray for in your would-be murderer.

Murders are rare in Ankh-Morpork. Suicides and assassinations...well, they're a dime a dozen, but genuine murders are pretty darned rare. But DEATH has been busier than usual lately, and it's up to Carrot and Vimes of the Night Watch to figure out what the heck is g
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
I'll keep this short. If I had to describe what I think about this story in one sentence it would be as if I need more reasons to love the Watch. There are so many highlighted parts that I gave up after a while.
I didn't read the blurb before, and now I see it has a spoiler in it. At least, I enjoyed finding out that particular thing in the book itself.

I loved it.

I rarely listen to audiobooks, but Men at Arms has an excellent narrator (Nigel Planer, but I checked the other one too and he too is p
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy ... this was ... blimey!

I'm used to an awesome level of brilliance by Sir Terry but this novel might have outdone everything I've read about the Discworld so far!

We're back in Ankh-Morpork in this installment, in time for Sam Vimes' wedding to Lady Sibyl (she who breeds dragons). This also means that his retirement is at hand. For a career copper, you can imagine what that prospect means.
Moreover, the Night Watch has increased its ranks slightly thanks to the Patrician's inclusion initiativ
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Librarian considered matters for a while. So…a dwarf and a troll. He preferred both species to humans. For one thing, neither of them were great readers. The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Libra ...more
Allison Hurd
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, man-author
Another lovely installment. I was worried because I thought something bad would happen for Vimes but I needn't have. Delightful and a great attack on the ridiculousness and danger of personal firearms.

Content warnings: death, racism, mild misogyny.
Steven Harbin
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fantasy, humor, satire
I'm probably biased, but I'm come to love everything I've read so far by Terry Pratchett, so perhaps my 5 stars should be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt". Still, I enjoyed this one immensely. The Discworld books sometimes have series within the overall series that follow a group of characters. This book is the 2nd in what I call the "Guards" series, following the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork which is led by Sam Vimes.
After the events of Guards! Guards! the Watch is being expanded, both
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters in this novel were superb, the plot and its ending was wholesome but not idealistic, and the narration was hilarious. I'm not sentimental about the series yet, but I bet I'll get there eventually. Man, Pratchett is something else. I can't think of an author I've read last that was able to comment on society, provide fleshed-out characters and a good plot, and present it all neatly with great humor. Maybe I just haven't been reading enough?
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the second Discworld book featuring the Night Watch, though it is okay to start here. You’ll just get suspicious looks from everyone.

The Night Watch has added some new recruits, thanks to 90s-style political correctness and affirmative action. They find a dead body and find themselves unsure how to investigate.

Murder was in fact a fairly uncommon event in Ankh-Morpork, but there were a lot of suicides. Walking in the night-time alleyways of The Shades was suicide. Asking for a short in a
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Murder, responsibility, equality, power, change.

This was an excellent audiobook - I think that Nigel Planer did another fantastic job narrating the story.

If anything, I think this is even funnier than Guards! Guards!. I love the City Watch books, and I think this could be my favourite of them. I really do love Carrot and Vimes, they are excellent characters and the observations they make are great. In fact, all of the characters are well rounded and well written, and come to life on the
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
#17 of the Discworld Books and the second of the Citywatch ones. As usual, plenty is happening in Ankh-Morpork in this one. The Night Watch has new recruits, a troll, a dwarf (even though Carrot is one too :)), and a very pretty young woman, Constable Angua (who happens to have another special qualification), all part of an affirmative action plan, initiated by the Patrician. Carrot is now Corporal, in-charge, of them all. On the other side, Captain Vimes is preparing for his wedding to Lady Syb ...more
Kaethe Douglas
2013 July 4

Pratchett can write a novel about integration and politics and gun control that keeps one amused and engrossed and thoroughly engaged the whole time. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I was finished I purchased the next Discworld book I hadn't yet read, Interesting Times, to start immediately.

And as many Pratchett books as I have read and loved at this point, I still find it hard to say why they're so great. There is always plot, often more than enough for several books. In this ca
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fantasy

I'm going to say that to date this is the best Discworld novel I've read. The characters are well rounded with a blend of people from the last novel developing further and new additions adding to humour and conflict in equal measure. The plot is well written with plenty of twists and turns and not until near the end did things tie up nicely making it a well driven read.

The layers to this novel were quite something, on the surface this is a murder plot but underneath it is littered with po
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second City Watch story in the Discworld series sees an influx of new recruits to the Night Watch, which includes Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) Trolls and Angua (a women) as part of a diversity drive.
The problem is on Discworld is that trolls and dwarfs don’t tend to get along...

Pratchett’s clever multilayered story tackles racism in Ankh-Morpork, whilst giving the reader a murder mystery as a spate of dead bodies start appearing across the city.

The interaction between all the characte
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fact: I don’t like to read fantasy.
Fact: The very idea of reading a book without chapters seems like hard work.
Fact: I own more than 40 Terry Pratchett novels.
Fact: I have read every Discworld novel at least twice.

Why, you ask?

Quite simply: Terry Pratchett was the funniest writer in the world!

I discovered him by accident. While visiting family one day, I had 15 minutes to kill, so I grabbed the only book I could see. The cover looked somewhat juvenile, but it beats being bored. Two hours
David Sarkies
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
The Nightwatch Returns
13 February 2014

Terry Pratchett is now taking aim at the detective fiction in his gonne sights in one of the most amusing Discworld books that I have read to date (though that is a bit of an exaggeration, but this book does sit up there with the best of the series). We now return to the antics of the nightwatch and discover that there have been some promotions (though poor Noddy is not among the ones who have been promoted). The Patrician has also decided to embrace the id
Ms. Smartarse
When I have first encountered the members of the City Watch, I rather disliked them. They were always misunderstanding everything due to missing about half of the big picture, and thus causing additional problems for the hero.

Thud!, the first novel that I've read about them, didn't exactly endear the characters to me either. Oh I liked Angua: smart, pretty, with a 'mysterious' monthly affliction AND all-around dangerous aura; basically the epitome of a kick-ass heroine.

Angua in Going Postal movie adaptation

Thinking back on it, I'm g
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Men at Arms is the second book in the City Watch subseries of Discworld. I liked this one better than the first book, Guards! Guards!. The story held my interest much better, and I enjoyed the characters more. Of course, it had a lot of the same characters as the first book, but I thought this one focused on more interesting characters. I like Carrot quite a bit, and we see a lot of him in this book. There are also two new members of the watch, Cuddy the Dwarf and Detritus (don’t salute!) the Tr ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barely a year has passed since the last idiot in Ankh-Morpork thought they could unleash an unholy hell to help them overthrow the great tyrant ruler of their city state only to find themselves meeting the grinning face of the feline loving Death of the Disc sooner than anticipated and somebody is at it again, only this time with the help of a 'gonne.' Vimes is off getting married and Carrot is inheriting a watch embracing equal opportunities, including the evolution of Detritus the troll in to ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2018.

The Night Watch is expanding with new watchmen being enrolled from the growing minority populations in the city of Ankh-Morpork. But at the same time, Samuel Vimes is looking towards retirement to marry Lady Sybil and become a gentleman of leisure, a future that the Vimes is struggling with. Then a series of murders involving a strange device from the Guild of Assassins occurs and the whole Watch is needed to deal with it.

Sarah Sammis
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pc
Men at Arms is the second book I've read for the Beach Blanket Bonanza. My husband (whom I originally introduced to Pratchett's books) has been selecting the best of the Discworld books for me to read and I have been enjoying these reading "assignments" thoroughly.

Men at Arms is the next in the "Night Watch" group of books. Vimes is on the eve of his retirement from the watch and about to get married. Meanwhile, bodies are showing up in Ankh-Morpork and a new weapon has been stolen. Carrot and a
Olga Godim
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This novel was a joy to read. The second in the Watch sub-series, it is as much a fantasy as a mystery. People often die in Ankh-Morpork, mostly from suicide (walking along some of the city streets after dark is definitely suicidal), but now a series of murders have been committed. Sam Vimes, the Captain of the Night Watch, starts the investigation, and various complications spring in his way with predictable regularity.
The plot of this novel is just a pencil sketch, a colorless collection of e
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be a MAN in the City Watch! The City Watch needs MEN!

It had been six months since I last read a Discworld book, and coming back to them always feels like coming home after a long journey. This was only the second of the City Watch books, and I don’t recall much of anything about Guards! Guards!, which I've read two years ago, but I’ve rather come to love Vimes and Carrot in this one—I feel like they’re some of the more fleshed out characters we’ve met in Discworld so far, and the City Watch arc
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Men at Arms is Terry Pratchett's fifteenth ...woah, really? This is the fifteenth Discwordld book? And I'm not even HALFWAY done with the series yet? And he's still writing them? That's AWESOME!

Anyway, in Men at Arms returns to the metropolis of Ank-Morpork, specifically the Night Watch charged with preventing suicides, such as suicide by strolling through the wrong part of town or saying the wrong thing to any of its inhabitants. Captain Samuel Vimes is relegated mostly a B-story for most of th
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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, i

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 (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • 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; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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93 likes · 28 comments
“Something Vimes had learned as a young guard drifted up from memory. If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat.

They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.”
“Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.” 305 likes
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