Thud! (Discworld Series #34)

Thud! (Discworld Series #34)

4.5 68
by Terry Pratchett

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Once, in a gods-forsaken hellhole called Koom Valley, trolls and dwarfs met in bloody combat. Centuries later, each species still views the other with simmering animosity. Lately, the influential dwarf, Grag Hamcrusher, has been fomenting unrest among Ankh-Morpork's more diminutive citizens—a volatile situation made far worse when the pint-size provocateur is


Once, in a gods-forsaken hellhole called Koom Valley, trolls and dwarfs met in bloody combat. Centuries later, each species still views the other with simmering animosity. Lately, the influential dwarf, Grag Hamcrusher, has been fomenting unrest among Ankh-Morpork's more diminutive citizens—a volatile situation made far worse when the pint-size provocateur is discovered bashed to death . . . with a troll club lying conveniently nearby.

Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch is aware of the importance of solving the Hamcrusher homicide without delay. (Vimes's second most-pressing responsibility, in fact, next to always being home at six p.m. sharp to read Where's My Cow? to Sam, Jr.) But more than one corpse is waiting for Vimes in the eerie, summoning darkness of a labyrinthine mine network being secretly excavated beneath Ankh-Morpork's streets. And the deadly puzzle is pulling him deep into the muck and mire of superstition, hatred, and fear—and perhaps all the way to Koom Valley itself.

Editorial Reviews

“As always, Pratchett’s latest Discworld yarn is funny, fast-paced, the kind of satire that explores serious issues while making readers love it.”
Sunday Express (London)
“One of the darker Discworld tales, [THUD!] does not disappoint.”
Washington Post
“Imgenious, brilliant and hilarious.”
!Funny, poignant, complicated and character-driven.”
Fantasy & Science Fiction
“A delight from beginning to end.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
This entry in Terry Pratchett's uproarious Discworld saga (Going Postal, Monstrous Regiment, et al.) examines the feud between dwarves and trolls. With the anniversary of Koom Valley quickly approaching -- a historic bloodbath where either trolls ambushed dwarves or dwarves attacked trolls, no one remembers or really cares -- Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, must solve a murder of a fanatical dwarf leader while also trying to prevent an all-out war from erupting in the great city of Ankh-Morpork.

When a rabble-rousing dwarf is found with his head crushed and a troll is rumored to be the killer, Vimes and his team of misfits must get to the bottom of the mystery before tensions escalate out of control. To complicate matters, a priceless painting depicting the battle of Koom Valley (a painting that supposedly contains clues to the whereabouts of a hidden treasure) has been stolen from the Royal Art Museum. As Vimes digs deeper, he realizes that powerful dark magic is involved and that the answer to all his questions can only be found at the ancient battle site. But what he finds at Koom Valley will change perceptions forever…

Longtime fans of Discworld -- which began in 1983 with the publication of The Color of Magic and now encompasses an incredible 30 novels -- will enjoy revisiting beloved characters like Vimes, Ankh-Morpork's supreme leader Lord Vetinari, and everyone's favorite scythe wielder, Death, as well as meeting quirky new characters like the painfully uptight government inspector Mr. A. E. Pessimal and Sally von Humpeding, the new, blood-sucking Watch recruit. Outlandishly witty and as irreverent as it is insightful, Pratchett's Thud! is a knockout. Paul Goat Allen

City Watch Commander Sam Vimes should have known things were too perfect. When he wakes up, the sun is shining; the birds are singing; and somehow he finishes shaves himself without a single nick. And then THUD. Before Vimes can reconfigure his frontal lobes, he has an unsolved homicide on his hands; an unwelcome new recruit; and, oh yes, an impending war born of age-old animosity. From this perch, Pratchett's cheery, wildly irreverent romps make him one of the most entertaining writers in Discworld, this world, or any other realm.
Donald E. Westlake
…the plot of a Discworld novel is never the point. The asides and the general goofiness and the imagination run amok are the point, every time and this time, too. And if, for instance, Carrot, the shy six-foot-tall dwarf (you had to be there), seems by this episode to be overstaying his welcome, that's also okay. All in all the only thing to be said about a Discworld novel is: Read it. You'll like it.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Ankh-Morpork's City Watch Commander, Sam Vimes, stars in the latest entry in Pratchett's popular Discworld series (Going Postal, etc.). "Thud" is the sound that commences the novel, as a dwarf is bludgeoned to death; it's also the name of a chesslike match that recreates the battle of Koom Valley, a long-ago fight between trolls and dwarfs. As the anniversary of the battle approaches, ancient politics and the present-day murder cause tensions between the trolls and dwarfs to boil. Though Koom Valley was a disaster for both sides, certain community leaders from each side have been spoiling for a rematch-something Vimes is duty-bound to prevent. In the midst of this, a push toward affirmative action forces Vimes to hire a vampire named Sally to the Watch. She's sworn off human blood, but that's cold comfort to the assortment of humans, dwarfs, trolls, werewolves and golems that make up the police force. Vimes and his motley crew of coppers are called upon to not only find the murderer and keep the peace but also, in a jab at The Da Vinci Code, solve the riddle of a painting that reputedly holds the secret to what really happened at Koom Valley. Pratchett's fantastic imagination and satirical wit are on full display. Agent, Ralph M. Vicinanza. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Thud! is the 30th book in Pratchett's "Disc-world" series and the seventh book in the "Watch" subseries (e.g. Guards! Guards!). In this installment, Commander Sam Vimes-a copper's copper-must deal with dwarfs and trolls as the anniversary of the battle of Koom Valley, a long-ago fight between trolls and dwarfs, draws near. Although the reason for the battle is lost to history, ancient politics and what appears to be the murder of a dwarf official by a troll cause tensions between the two races to escalate. If Sam and crew cannot solve the mystery in time, the battle of Koom Valley could be re-enacted on the streets of Ankh-Morpork. The subplots move the story along, and reader Stephen Briggs, who has adapted 14 of the "Discworld" novels for the stage, gives all of Pratchett's characters crisp and unique voices. Recommended for all libraries.-Tim Daniels, Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
More amiable mockery from one of our leading lights. The most rewarding part of Discworld, Prachett's comedic fictional universe, is the teeming city of Ankh-Morpork, and specifically, the city's effective yet accident-prone keepers of the peace, The Watch, whose "fine traditions . . . largely consist of finding somewhere out of the rain." This time out, The Watch, under the leadership of their long-suffering commander, Sam Vimes, are charged with keeping order in the tinderbox city, due to go up in flames at any moment as a result of the bitter inter-species hatred between the dwarves and the trolls. Things are especially tense now because of the anniversary of Koom Valley, an ancient battle between the two races that had become "a rallying cry, the ancestral reason why you couldn't trust those short, bearded/big, rocky bastards." Into this pool of gasoline is tossed a match, in the form of the murder of an important dwarf whom the old dwarf fundamentalists, called "deep-downers," were trying to blame on the trolls. Pratchett (Going Postal, 2004, etc.) takes on a target in every novel, something in the modern world that really seems to get his goat. This time it's a few things: ethnic clannishness and strife, religious fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code and cell phones (presented here as a small, obnoxious imp in a handheld box called a Gooseberry(tm)). As always, Vimes staggers through the chaos and idiocy as the exasperated, excruciatingly decent British voice of reason. Though Pratchett loses his way a bit towards the end, fans will not be disappointed. Bitingly relevant and laugh-out-loud funny.
From the Publisher
"Like reading Tolkien but with gags — and good gags too."
The Guardian

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Discworld Series , #34
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Terry Pratchett

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Terry Pratchett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060815221

Chapter One

Thud ... that was the sound the heavy club made as it connected with the head. The body jerked, and slumped back.

And it was done, unheard, unseen: the perfect end, a perfect solution, a perfect story.

But, as the dwarfs say, where there is trouble you will always find a troll.

The troll saw.

It started out as a perfect day. It would soon enough be an imperfect one, he knew, but just for these few minutes, it was possible to pretend that it wouldn't.

Sam Vimes shaved himself. It was his daily act of defiance, a confirmation that he was ... well, plain Sam Vimes.

Admittedly, he shaved himself in a mansion, and while he did so his butler read out bits from the Times, but they were just ... circumstances. It was still Sam Vimes looking back at him from the mirror. The day he saw the duke of Ankh-Morpork in there would be a bad day. "Duke" was just a job description, that's all.

"Most of the news is about the current ... dwarfish situation, sir," said Willikins, as Vimes negotiated the tricky area under the nose. He still used his granddad's cutthroat razor. It was another anchor to reality. Besides, the steel was a lot better than the steel you got today. Sybil, who had a strange enthusiasm for modern gadgetry, kept on suggesting he get one of those new shavers, with a little magic imp inside that had its own scissors and did all the cutting very quickly, but Vimes had held out. If anyone was going to be using a blade near his face, it was going to be him.

"Koom Valley, Koom Valley," he muttered to his reflection. "Anything new?"

"Not as such, sir," said Willikins, turning back to the front page. "There is a report of that speech by Grag Hamcrusher. There was a disturbance afterwards, it says. Several dwarfs and trolls were wounded. Community leaders have appealed for calm."

Vimes shook some lather off the blade. "Hah! I bet they have. Tell me, Willikins, did you fight much when you were a kid? Were you in a gang or anything?"

"I was privileged to belong to the Shamlegger Street Rude Boys, sir," said the butler primly.

"Really?" said Vimes, genuinely impressed. "They were pretty tough nuts, as I recall."

"Thank you, sir," said Willikins smoothly. "I pride myself I used to give somewhat more than I got if we needed to discuss the vexed area of turf issues with the young men from Rope Street. Stevedore's hooks were their weapon of choice, as I recall."

"And yours ... ?" said Vimes, agog.

"A cap-brim sewn with sharpened pennies, sir. An ever-present help in times of trouble."

"Ye gods, man! You could put someone's eye out with something like that."

"With care, sir, yes."

And here you stand now, in your pinstripe trousers and butlering coat, shiny as schmaltz and fat as butter, Vimes thought, while he tidied up under the ears. And I'm a duke. How the world turns.

"And have you everheard someone say 'let's have a disturbance'?" he said.

"Never, sir," said Wilkins, picking up the paper again.

"Me neither. It only happens in newspapers." Vimes glanced at the bandage on his arm. It had been quite disturbing, even so.

"Did it mention I took personal charge?" he said.

"No, sir. But it does say here that rival factions in the street outside were kept apart by the valiant efforts of the Watch, sir."

"They actually used the word 'valiant'?" said Vimes.

"Indeed they did, sir."

"Well, good," Vimes conceded grumpily. "Do they record that two officers had to be taken to the Free Hospital, one of them quite badly hurt?"

"Unaccountably, not, sir," said the butler.

"Huh. Typical. Oh, well ... carry on."

Willikins coughed a butlery cough. "You might wish to lower the razor for the next one, sir. I got into trouble with her ladyship about last week's little nick."

Vimes watched his image sigh, and lowered the razor. "All right, Willikins. Tell me the worst."

Behind him, the paper was professionally rustled. "The headline on page three is: 'Vampire Officer For The Watch?,' sir," said the butler and took a careful step backwards.

"Damn! Who told them?"

"I really couldn't say, sir. It says you are not in favor of vampires in the Watch, but will be interviewing a recruit today. It says there is a lively controversy over the issue."

"Turn to page eight, will you?" said Vimes grimly. Behind him, the paper rustled again.

"Well?" he said. "That's where they usually put their silly political cartoon, isn't it?"

"You did put the razor down, did you, sir?" said Willikins.


"Perhaps it would also be just as well if you stepped away from the washbasin, too, sir."

"There's one of me, isn't there ..." said Vimes grimly.

"Indeed there is, sir. It portrays a small, nervous vampire and, if I may say so, a rather larger-than-life drawing of yourself leaning over your desk, holding a wooden stake in your right hand. The caption is 'Any good on a stakeout, eh?,' sir, this being a humorous wordplay referring, on the one hand, to the standard police procedure -- "

"Yes, I think I can just about spot it," said Vimes wearily. "Any chance you could nip down and buy the original before Sybil does? Every time they run a cartoon of me, she gets hold of it and hangs it up in the library!"

"Mr., er, Fizz does capture a very good likeness, sir," the butler conceded. "And I regret to say that her ladyship has already instructed me to go down to the Timesoffice on herbehalf."

Vimes groaned.

"Moreover, sir," Willikins went on, "her ladyship desired me to remind you that she and Young Sam will meet at the studio of Sir Joshua at eleven sharp, sir. The painting is at an important stage, I gather."

"But I -- "

"She was very specific, sir. She said if a commander of police cannot take time off, who can?"


Excerpted from Thud! by Terry Pratchett Copyright © 2005 by Terry Pratchett.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 75 million copies worldwide and have been translated into nearly forty languages. In 2009 Queen Elizabeth II knighted Pratchett in recognition of his "services to literature." Sir Terry lives in England.

Brief Biography

Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
April 28, 1948
Place of Birth:
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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Thud! (Discworld Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Captain_SmokeblowerTW More than 1 year ago
Once again the author keeps us abreast of familiar characters while introducing new people, where "people" means trolls, vampires, dwarves, werewolves and Nobby. Then he makes us like them and helps us understand the world from their perspective. Well, maybe not this world, but one as much like it as a disk on the back of four elephants and a universe traversing turtle can be.
Joni and Jonah Watson More than 1 year ago
As a long time fan of Pratchett, I must say that this is my favorite. Prachett is at his usual, hilarious standard with his trademark life lesson hiden under the wackiness. I enjoyed his portrial of Vimes as a father trying to do everything he can to be there for Young Sam while keeping the entire city from erupting in race riots. It really highlights how foolish it is to argue over our petty differences especially in the face of real issues. By turns deep and whimsical, Thud is an engaging read for anyone.
Grea More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much, I had to buy a new copy, as I had worn out the previous one. It is a stand by book, always good to come back to again.
Wesker_Chick More than 1 year ago
Who wouldn't love a cop like Samuel Vimes? Except when he's angry and just the wee bit possessed by evil. I loved seeing the darker side of Vimes, something that was always touched on in other Vimes based books but was never really fleshed out. I reccommend to anyone, even someone who hasn't read a Discworld book before!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Terry Pratchett at his very best. I have read all of his books at least three times each, and I have to say that this is my favorite one. I highly recommend it for both long-time fans and for people just entering the Discworld series. The plot is excellent (that is not to say that the others aren't, but I thought that this one was especially good).
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Many typos
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Das ist eine leblingsbuch von mir! Du sollst das reden. Alles sollt das lesen! Yay!
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