Thud! (Discworld Series #34) [NOOK Book]


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 ...

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Thud! (Discworld Series #34)

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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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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

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
Washington Post
“Imgenious, brilliant and hilarious.”
“As always, Pratchett’s latest Discworld yarn is funny, fast-paced, the kind of satire that explores serious issues while making readers love it.”
!Funny, poignant, complicated and character-driven.”
Fantasy & Science Fiction
“A delight from beginning to end.”
Sunday Express (London)
“One of the darker Discworld tales, [THUD!] does not disappoint.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061795558
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Discworld Series , #34
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 36,904
  • File size: 685 KB

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.


Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 49 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 1, 2010

    Pratchett always delivers.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    About as Touching as a Club up side the Head

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Great story

    Many typos

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012


    Das ist eine leblingsbuch von mir! Du sollst das reden. Alles sollt das lesen! Yay!

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    Loved it!

    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.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Vimes As You've Never Seen Him

    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!

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    A very Twisted book!

    A good read for those who like to be pulled into a warped & twisted illogical story. Only for those who dont want to lose themselves in a mindless story. The book was confusing to me at first but by the time i was past half way & had a yearing to find out how the charaters solved the mysteries that were present in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    Wonderful and intelligent fun

    The Discworld series always provides a break from reality while sometimes making think differently about serious topics. Such is Thud! which knocks a few feathers off of religious extremism and cultural protectionism. The Watch must solve the theft of a painting that is linked to the origins of DiscWorld and must also keep an eye out for acts of terrorism by Dwarves against Trolls and vice-versa. If you're already familiar with the series then you'll easily enjoy, otherwise start with another of the series books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2005

    Great Book

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2005

    Pitch perfect

    A much anticipated, but well worth the wait, addition to the Watch sub-series. Not just cameos of Sam Vimes and company, but complete exploits. As always, the book is hilarious, and as always, Pratchett can seem remarkably prescient. He alludes to the Arab/Israeli conflict, the growing Muslim population in England, takes a few jabs at the Da Vinci code, and even manages a joke about iPods. Other sections, especially the intereaction between Sam Vimes and his son, are probably the most touching passages Pratchett has ever written. Having told us more about Vimes's development in Night Watch, Pratchett here gives us a fascinating view of his thought process. Angua is, surprisingly, quite a central player: we get to see her relationship with Carrot continue to evolve. Not to mention the image of a werewolf, a vampire, a dwarf, and an exotic dancer on a girls night out. Speaking of relationships, Nobby Nobbs finally gets a girlfriend, a statuesque and beautiful poll dancer, but a very bad cook. Then there's the new characters, like AE Pessimal(who was not named, but initialled), Sally the Vampire, Brocolee, another pole dancer, who used to be called Candi but learned that brocoli is better for you, and Brick, the troll too stupid to join Tenth Egg Street Can't-Fink-Of-A-Name Gang. Overall, perfectly awesome can't wait for the next one.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Witty serio-comic speculative fiction novel

    Millennium ago, a battle was fought at Koom Valley between the trolls and the dwarves. Nobody remembers who started it or what it was about but ever since there has been a deep hatred that boiled over many times into actual fighting between the two races. On the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley trolls and dwarves from all over Discworld pour into the city of Ankh-Morpork bringing tensions to an all time................ Commander Sam Vimes is afraid that the Battle of Koom Valley will be repeated in his city especially with the dwarf Grog Horncrusher advocating troll-genocide. Policemen Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs investigate the theft of Methodia Rascal¿s painting depicting the Battle of Koom Valley believed to have a message somewhere in the picture. When Grog Horncrusher is killed and a troll weapon is found near the body it looks like the two groups will go to war. Yet Commander Sam Vimes thinks there is a connection between the murder, the theft of the painting and the diggings of tunnels under the city the dwarves are undertaking. Once he finds the link he hopes to get some answers about what really happened in Koom Valley and bring peace to two warring races................ The latest Discworld novel is a witty serio-comic speculative fiction novel that works on two levels. It is an entertaining story and the trolls and the dwarves are symbols of sentient beings who go to war because they hate each other as a matter of principle just like in our own world. The protagonist believes in justice and goes out of his way to see that the trolls and the dwarves receive it fairly. Terry Pritchett¿s fantasy realm reflects our own orb................ Harriet Klausner

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