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The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24; City Watch, #5)
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The Fifth Elephant (Discworld #24)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  50,778 Ratings  ·  1,122 Reviews
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job.

Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a
...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 6th 2008 by Corgi (first published 1999)
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Lisa I think each book stands alone, however there is a story arc that builds when you read them in order. It makes it more interesting for me.
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)

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Patrick
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
You know what Goodreads *really* needs? The ability for someone to leave multiple reviews of a book that they've read at multiple points in their life.

I'd like to talk about my recent thoughts on this book, but I don't want to erase my old review or change the date on it.

Think how nice it would be to look back on your reading history and see how your attitudes have changed over the course of your life. Books you loved as a kid that pale as you mature, versus books you liked when you were young
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Kristen
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy
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
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Lyn
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
“So this is diplomacy.  It’s like lying, only to a better class of people.”

So says Sam Vimes / Terry Pratchett in his 1999 novel The Fifth Elephant. Discworld fans also know that this 24th Discworld book was a return of the wonderfully entertaining City Watch sub series. In this edition, Pratchett has the Duke of Ankh go to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission for which Vimes is uniquely qualified.

Pratchett had previously visited the vampires in Uberwald in the 23rd Discworld book, 1998’s Carpe Jugu
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Melki
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Richard
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, comedy
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
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YouKneeK
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The Fifth Elephant is the fifth book in the Watch subseries of Discworld. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, my enjoyment of the Watch books has grown as the series has progressed. With this book however, I wasn’t as entertained by it as I had been by the last couple. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me, since I was traveling on business this week and I was surprisingly tired even though it wasn’t a particularly strenuous trip. There were also a lot of distractions during the bul ...more
Melindam
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: discworld, favourites
“Let me see if I've got this right,' said Vimes. 'Überwald is like this big suet pudding that everyone's suddenly noticed, and now with this coronation as an excuse we've all got to rush there with knife, fork and spoon to shovel as much on our plates as possible?'
'Your grasp of political reality is masterly, Vimes. Your lack only the appropriate vocabulary.”


“Vetinari was throwing him amongst the wolves. And the dwarfs. And the vampires. Vimes shuddered. And Vetinari never did naything without a
...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

2014 September 23
2018 February
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy novels and other Terry Pratchett novels
Published : 6/11/2008
Author: Terry Pratchett

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 book 5 in the City Watch part in the Discworld novels.
This is another great book that transports us into the world that he has created, we go on the adventure with the characters, get to know them and enjoy
...more
Bronislava Sencakova
Diplomacia v praxi a v Uberwalde :) Človek človeku vlkom. A pani Elániová (view spoiler).

Počas čítania tejto knihy zomrel Kantůrek (22. 3. 2018), dvorný Pratchettov prekladateľ. Shit happens, ale raz tam musí odísť každý.

Goodreads výzva 2018:
40. dočítaná kniha
Κωνσταντίνος Κέλλης
May 2018: “This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.”

Just like the Dwarf King's Axe, this is still the same book read by the same per
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R.R. López
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otro libro de la saga de la guardia con el que he disfrutado enormemente.

Lo que más me ha gustado: La introducción de los igors.

En este volumen conocemos un poco mejor a Lady Sybil, exploramos las misteriosas tierras de Überwald, y averiguamos algo más del trasfondo de Angua.

Lo que no me ha gustado: Pratchett vuelve a prescindir de la causa-efecto para resolver el conflicto principal, como en sus primeros libros, haciendo que este se resuelva por manos del azar, mediante el triunfo de un plan mu
...more
David Sarkies
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Another City Watch Story
28 November 2016

There was a time that I loved the adventures of Constable Carrot, Captain Vimes, and Nobby Nobbs, but is seems as of late the stories are starting to become really, really dry. Okay, maybe there are other factors, but I really don't seem to be able to get into the Pratchet books any more, to the point that I am starting to find them quite boring. Sure, there are probably people out there that will crucify me because I have spoken blasphemy, but fortunatel
...more
apple
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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BellaGBear
This book has one of the scariest scenes I've read in a discworld book so far. I was really afraid a particular character I care about would die.

Also in this book Igor and Vimes really have a shining role, so if you like them, this is definetly the book for you. Especially if you also always wanted to know more about vampires, dwarves and werewolves of the Discworld universe.

This feels like a very mature discworld book, in the sense that the story is very well-constructed and has some serious
...more
Marina
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star, own
Another fantastic instalment.

It was super great to see the world outside of Ankh Morpork and explore more of Discworld. This one dealt specifically with immigrant diaspora, belonging, cultural shifts and evolution.

This was also the first Discworld book to make me cry. Silly Carrot, being his stupid adorable self. How dare he?!! *sniffs*

My only problem is that there are a bit too many characters and in this one their stories diverge a little too much.
Olga Godim
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
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
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
Matt
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor, 2016-reads
With Ankh-Morpork’s trade with Uberwald in possible danger Lord Ventari sends his most reliable diplomat and expert in political intrigue, Sam Vimes. The Commander of Ankh-Morpork’s Watch finds himself in a potential international incident with interspecies disputes and conspiracies mixed in with the fabulous riches of The Fifth Elephant mines in this installment of Terry Pratchett’s fantastic Discworld series.

Uberwald is a mineral rich principality governed over by dwarfs, werewolves, and vampi
...more
Tfitoby
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
Interestingly this City Watch book is keen to paint Ankh-Morpork as representing the big city inclusive ideals of say London, or New York, or perhaps a condensed version of "The American Dream," a place where anyone from anywhere, any race, creed, colour, or education can go and be accepted and make a success of themselves if they just work hard enough. Whilst at the same time it is the closed minded outsiders who wish to build walls, remain in the ultra conservative dark ages and keep all races ...more
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.
Μιτς Γιωτίξ
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not your usual City Watch novel, and Feet of Clay and Men at Arms were a little bit more enjoyable plot-wise, but it still was fun to read; especially when giving you backgrounds for Angua and Uberwald.
PS Sam Vimes is still the best cop in fiction.
J.A. Ironside
Not my favourite of Pratchett's works but a solid and entertaining read all the same. Let's be honest any of the books with Sam Vimes as MC can't go too far wrong. This felt like it picked up more directly from Feet of Clay in terms of theme than some of Pratchett's other books interconnect. It continued a look at racism and cultural clashes, whilst also exploring issues such as identity especially gender identity and gender stereotypes. And in usual Pratchett fashion it poked rather sharply at ...more
Sid Nuncius
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is another gem from Pratchett, and one of my favourites. This time Sam Vimes is sent to Uberwald as an ambassador. It's a typically beautifully paced and constructed story, which gathers speed and tension while still making some extremely telling points about important social issues, plus an amusing but actually very incisive picture of what can happen when someone completely out of their depth is promoted to a position of power, as Fred Colon is left in charge of the watch.

It is also very
...more
Leslie
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another amusing entry in the City Watch subseries of Discworld. I love all the little bits, not particularly important to the plot, that Pratchett includes such as a large Ankh Morporkian called All Jolson and Leonard of Quimper's inventions! And it has been fun to see how Sam Vimes' relationship with Lady Sybil has progressed (an advantage of taking my time & reading them in order).
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
Billy Young
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Vimes as a diplomat isn't something he would have chosen to be. He quickly learns though that it isn't much different to being a copper and soon gets on the trail of the missing Scone.
David Stringer
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've been meaning to read a Terry Pratchett book for a while, although with their being a monstrous number of books by him, wasn't sure where to start (I know book one makes sense but hay!). Although with me, if something or someone is hyped up a lot, it does put me off. I've never read Harry Potter books for example. So when an offer on Kindle came up for this one thought let's take the plunge and give it a go.

The premise or story line, although sounding quite bonkers, was intriguing enough for
...more
William Davis
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened off and on to it, got sidetracked with other books and things. Still one of my favorite books ever. I’d give it 8 stars if I could.
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett 4 22 Dec 31, 2014 03:06PM  
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29,365 followers
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,
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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 (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)
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“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.” 404 likes
“A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.” 238 likes
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