Feet of Clay (Discworld Series #19)

Feet of Clay (Discworld Series #19)

4.5 67
by Terry Pratchett

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It's murder in Discworld! — which ordinarily is no big deal. But what bothers Watch Commander Sir Sam Vimes is that the unusual deaths of three elderly Ankh-Morporkians do not bear the clean, efficient marks of the Assassins' Guild. An apparent lack of any motive is also quitetroubling. All Vimes has are some tracks of white clay and more of those bothersome

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It's murder in Discworld! — which ordinarily is no big deal. But what bothers Watch Commander Sir Sam Vimes is that the unusual deaths of three elderly Ankh-Morporkians do not bear the clean, efficient marks of the Assassins' Guild. An apparent lack of any motive is also quitetroubling. All Vimes has are some tracks of white clay and more of those bothersome "clue" things that only serve to muck up an investigation. The anger of a fearful populace is already being dangerously channeled toward the city's small community of golems — the mindless, absurdlyindustrious creatures of baked clay who can occasionally be found toiling in the city's factories. And certain highly placed personages are using the unrest as an excuse to resurrect a monarchy — which would be bad enough even if the "king" they were grooming wasn't as empty-headed as your typical animated pottery.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sue Krumbein
This seventeenth book in Pratchett's Discworld series is aptly titled Feet of Clay in that an important character in the story is a golem named Dorfl. Golems are not exactly alive, but malleable individuals made of clay-malleable, that is, until they revolt and become a problem. It is not surprising to find golems in Ankh-Morpork, a city with all kinds of unusual citizens, including dwarfs, some of them mustachioed females, werewolves, and trolls. This latest book finds Commander Vimes facing a serious problem. Someone is trying to kill Lord Vetinari, the Patrician, and Vimes must get to the bottom of it. In the process, Vimes and his men have a series of adventures and misadventures. Although fans of this series will enjoy this latest title, the reader does have to concentrate to follow the plot and enjoy the humor in what is really a complicated novel, and one slightly more difficult to get into than the previous title in the series, Men at Arms (VOYA, October 1996). VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
Here are two selections from Pratchett's "Discworld" series, which is immensely popular in his native Britain. These very engaging and funny stories mix wry humor, magic and fantasy, sorcerers, dragons, and insightful characterizations to form something approximating comic Tolkien and akin to Roger Zelazny's "Millenium Deeds" series. In both tales, curmudgeonly Samuel Vimes leads the City Watch through police endeavors in Ank-Morpork. Guards! features magicians who summon a terrifying dragon, the sly plotting of the city's governing Patrician, an orangutan librarian, and the men of the Watch, who fumble around the edges of the escapades. Feet is a darker, more gruesome story: Vimes and his squad investigate some strange and violent deaths, puzzling activity among the city's golems, and an immobilizing illness affecting the Patrician. Both of these works also explore issues such as gender and class politics, racism, and spirituality from the various viewpoints and biases of the characters. The most outstanding feature of these well-paced stories is narrator Nigel Planer, who brings terrific energy and the voices of thousands to this remarkable performance; he could read a toothpaste tube and keep listeners on the edges of their seats.--Douglas C. Lord, Hartford P.L., CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
 • "Like reading Tolkien but with gags — and good gags too." —Guardian

 • "His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction." —Mail on Sunday

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Discworld Series, #19
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)
670L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It a warm spring night when a fist knocked at the door so hard that the hinges bent.

A man opened it and peered out into the street. There was mist coming off the river and it was a cloudy night. He might as well have tried to see through white velvet.

But he thought afterwards that there had been shapes out there, just beyond the fight spilling out into the road. A lot of shapes, watching him carefully. He thought maybe there'd been very faint points of light ...

There was no mistaking the shape right in front of him, though. It was big and dark red and looked like a child's clay model of a man. Its eyes were two embers.

"Well? What do you want at this time of night?"

The golem handed him a slate, on which was written:


Of course golems couldn't speak could they?

"Hah. Want, yes. Afford, no. I've been asking around but it's wicked the prices you're going for these days . . ."

The golem rubbed the words off the slate and wrote:


"You're for sale?"


The golem lurched aside. Another one stepped into the fight.

It was also a golem, the man could see that. But it wasn't like the usual lumpen clay things that you occasionally saw. Ibis one gleamed like a newly polished statue, perfect down to the detailing of the clothes. It reminded him of one of the old pictures of the city's lungs, all haughty stance and imperious haircut. In fact, it even had a small coronet molded on to its head.

"A hundred dollars?" the man said suspiciously. "What's wrong with it? Who sellingit?"


"Sounds like someone wants to get rid of it in a hurry. . ."


"Yeah, right, but you hear stories ... Going mad and making too many things, and that."


"it looks ... new," said the man, tapping the gleaming chest. "But no one's making golems any more, that's what's keeping the price up beyond the purse of the small business-" He stopped. "Is someone making them again?


"I heard the priests banned making 'em years ago. A man could get in a lot of trouble."


"Who's doing it?"


"Is he selling them to Albertson? Or Spadger and Williams? It's hard enough competing as it is, and they've got the money to invest in new plant-"


The man walked around the golem. "A man can't sit by and watch his company collapse under him because of unfair price cutting, I mean to say . .


"Religion is all very well, but what do prophets know about profits, eh? Hmm . . ." He looked up at the shapeless golem in the shadows. "Was that thirty dollars I just saw you write?"


"I've always liked dealing wholesale. Wait one moment." He went back inside and returned with a handful of coins. "Will you be selling any to them other bastards?"


"Good. Tell your boss it's a pleasure to do business with him. Get along inside, Sunny Jim."

The white golem walked into the factory. The man, glancing from side to side, trotted in after it and shut the door.

Deeper shadows moved in the dark. There was a faint hissing. Then, rocking slightly, the big heavy shapes moved away.

Shortly afterwards, and around the comer, a beggar holding out a hopeful hand for alms was amazed to find himself suddenly richer by a whole thirty dollars.*

The Discworld turned against the glittering backdrop of space, spinning very gently on the backs of the four giant elephants that perched on the shell of Great A'Tuin the star turtle. Continents drifted slowly past, topped by weather systems that themselves turned gently against the flow, like waltzers spinning counter to the whirl of the dance. A billion tons of geography rolled slowly through the sky.

People look down on stuff like geography and meteorology, and not only because they're standing on one and being soaked by the other. They don't look quite like real science. But geography is only physics slowed down and with a few trees stuck on it, and is full of excitingly fashionable chaos and complexity. And summer isn't a time. It's a place as well. Summer is a moving creature and likes to go south for the winter.

Even on the Discworld, with its tiny orbiting sun tilting over the turning world, the seasons moved. In Ankh-Morpork, greatest of its cities, spring was nudged aside by summer, and summer was prodded in the back by autumn.

Geographically speaking, there was not a lot of difference within the city itself, although in later spring the scum on the river was often a nice emerald green. The mist of spring became the fog of autumn, which mixed with fumes and smoke from the magical quarter and the workshops of the alchemists until it seemed to have a thick, choking fife of its own.

And time moved on.

Autumn fog pressed itself against the midnight windowpanes.

Blood ran in a trickle across the pages of a rare volume of religious essays, which had been tom in half

'There had been no need for that, thought Father Tubelcek.

A further thought suggested that there had been no need to hit him either. But Father Tubelcek had never been very concerned about that sort of thing. People healed, books didn't. He reached out shakily and tried to gather up the pages, but slumped back again.

The room was spinning.

The door swung open. Heavy footsteps creaked across the floor-one footstep at least, and one dragging noise.

Step. Drag. Step. Drag.

Father Tubelcek tried to focus. "You?" he croaked.

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What People are saying about this

Jerry Pournelle
If you don't know Pratchett and Discworld, you've got a treat in store. He's the funniest writer I've come across.

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Feet of Clay (Discworld Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
SpoodyGoon More than 1 year ago
Feet of Clay was recommended and at first loaned to me by a co-worker who thought I might like it. Because I went through many years of hardly ever reading, I had been searching for something to capture my interest and get me back in to reading full time. For me Feet of Clay is on the level of Call of the Wild by Jack London because it lead me into a body of work that kept me happily reading for many years. It draws you into an amazing world of wonder and keeps you grounded with a good old fashion detective story. I would recommend this to anyone who don't mind taking a trip somewhere else to have a good laugh at reality. I am of course a Terry Pratchett fanatic but even in his body of work this is a stand out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you haven't yet discovered the magic of Discworld, you are missing out on some of the wittiest prose in English! Sort of Harry Potter meets Monty Python!
corinne13 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It made me see the value of life in a whole new way. This book makes life's hardest problems disappear and makes them all easy to answer. I loved every second of this book and still do. I read it as often as I can over and over. The style makes me smile and the characters and there personalities make me laugh out loud all the time. I even wrote my college paper on this book. This book makes me happy after I read a sad or bad book. Love it!!!
anounomouse More than 1 year ago
Humorous story with unforgettable characters. There are people that still take every word for its direct meaning which is no excuse for murder.
keruichun More than 1 year ago
I love Terry Pratchett novels. They're fun, light reads that end up to be much deeper than you think they'll be. This book is my favorite of his novels because of the deeper questions asked about our personal freedom to think for ourselves and do according to what our thoughts dictate and not what others demand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished this book last night and couldn't sleep for a while, thinking 'It's a VERY good book!' :) I read many of Pratchett's books, I liked all of them, but this one is the best so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it but it's not the kind of book I can read over and over again like the many other Discworld novels.
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