Men at Arms (Discworld Series #15)

Men at Arms (Discworld Series #15)

by Terry Pratchett

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Overview

A Young Dwarf's Dream

Corporal Carrot has been promoted! He's now in charge of the new recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork, Discworld's greatest city, from Barbarian Tribes, Miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and such. It's a big job, particularly for an adopted dwarf.

But an even bigger job awaits. An ancient document has just revealed that Ankh-Morpork, ruled for decades by Disorganized crime, has a secret sovereign! And his name is Carrott...

And so begins the most awesome epic encounter of all time, or at least all afternoon, in which the fate of a city—indeed of the universe itself!—depends on a young man's courage, an ancient sword's magic, and a three-legged poodle's bladder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061804717
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Discworld Series
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 43,732
File size: 603 KB

About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for “readers of all ages,” was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature,” Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.

Hometown:

Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1948

Place of Birth:

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England

Education:

Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Corporal Carrot, Ankh-Morpork City Guard (Night Watch), sat down in his nightshirt, took up his pencil, sucked the end for a moment, and then wrote:

"Dearest Mume and Dad,
Well here is another fine Turnup for the Books, for I have been made Corporal!! It means another Five Dollars a month plus also I have a new jerkin with, two stripes upon it as well. And a new copper badge! It is a Great responsibility!! This is all because we have got new recruits because the Patrician who, as I have formerly vouchsafed is the ruler of the city, has agreed the Watch must reflect the ethnic makeup of the City-"

Carrot paused for a moment and stared out of the small dusty bedroom window at the early evening sunlight sidling across the river. Then he bent over the paper again.

"-- which I do not Fully understand but must have something to do with the dwarf Grabpot Thundergust's Cosmetic Factory. Also, Captain Vimes of who I have often written to you of is, leaving the Watch to get married and Become a Fine Gentleman and, I'm sure we wish him All the Best, he taught me All I Know apart, from the things I taught myself. We are clubbing together to get him a Surprise Present, I thought one of those new Watches that don't need demons to make them go and we could inscribe on the back something like 'A Watch from, your Old Freinds in the Watch', this is a pune or Play on Words. We do not know who will be the new Captain, Sgt. Colon says he will Resign if it's him, Cpl. Nobbs -- "

Carrot stared out of the window again. His big honest forehead wrinkled with effort as he tried to think of something positive to sayabout Corporal Nobbs.

"-- is more suited in his current Roll, and I have not been in the Watch long enough. So we shall just have to wait and See --"

It began, as many things do, with a death. And a burial, on a spring morning, with mist on the ground so thick that it poured into the grave and the coffin was lowered into cloud.

A small greyish mongrel, host to so many assorted doggy diseases that it was surrounded by a cloud of dust, watched impassively from the mound of earth.

Various elderly female relatives cried. But Edward d'Eath didn't cry, for three reasons. He was the eldest son, the thirty-seventh Lord d'Eath, and it was Not Done for a d'Eath to cry; he was-just, the diploma still had the crackle in it -- an Assassin, and Assassins didn't cry at a death, otherwise they'd never be stopping; and he was angry. In fact, he was enraged.

Enraged at having to borrow money for this poor funeral. Enraged at the weather, at this common cemetery, at the way the background noise of the city didn't change in any way, even on such an occasion as this. Enraged at history. It was never meant to be like this.

It shouldn't have been like this.

He looked across the river to the brooding bulk of the Palace, and his anger screwed itself up and became a lens.

Edward had been sent to the Assassins' Guild because they had the best school for those whose social rank is rather higher than their intelligence. If he'd been trained as a Fool, he'd have invented satire and made dangerous jokes about the Patrician. If he'd been trained as a Thief,* he'd have broken into the Palace and stolen something very valuable from the Patrician.

However ... he'd been sent to the Assassins . . .

That afternoon he sold what remained of the d'Eath estates, and enrolled again at the Guild school.

For the post-graduate course.

He got full marks, the first person in the history of the Guild ever to do so. His seniors described him as a man to watch-and, because there was something about him that made even Assassins uneasy, preferably from a Iong way away.

In the cemetery the solitary gravedigger filled in the hole that was the last resting place of d'Eath senior.

He became aware of what seemed to be thoughts in his head. They went something like this:

*But no gentleman would dream of being trained as a Thief

Any chance of a bone? No, no, sorry, bad taste there, forget I mentioned it. You've got beef sandwiches in your wossname, lunchbox thingy, though. Why not give one to the nice little doggy over there?

The man leaned on his shovel and looked around.

The grey mongrel was watching him intently.

It said, "Woof?"

It took Edward d'Eath five months to find what he was looking for. The search was hampered by the fact that he did not know what he was looking for, only that he'd know it when he found it. Edward was a great believer in Destiny. Such people often are.

The Guild library was one of the largest in the city. In certain specialized areas it was the largest. These areas mainly had to do with the regrettable brevity of human life and the means of bringing it about.

Edward spent a lot of time there, often at the top of a ladder, often surrounded by dust.

He read every known work on armaments. He didn't know what he was looking for and he found it in a note in the margin of an otherwise very dull and inaccurate treatise on the ballistics of crossbows. He copied it out, carefully.

Edward spent a lot of time among history books as well. The Assassins' Guild was an association of gentlemen of breeding, and people like that regard the whole of recorded history as a kind of stock book. There were a great many books in the ...

Men at Arms. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Men at Arms (Discworld Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite DiscWorld Novel ever! Words can not discribe this book. It is filled with many colorfull characters from other his other novels such as; Carrot, Noppy, C.O.T. Dippler, and Gaspode The Wonder Dog. I really do not know how Terry does it; he can be so funny. All and all you must read this book, or better yet listen to the audio book. Negil Planer's voices are the icing on the cake. True Story!!!!
Shrkb8kid More than 1 year ago
This book is a typical Terry Pratchett, funny, compelling, fun, and engaging. Pratchets cast is not only easy to relate to, but easy to befriend, and love. One can easily find themselves missing their favorite characters if away too long. I highly recommend anything written by Sir Terry Pratchett, and Men at Arms does not dissapoint. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where to start... For those that have read any of the discworld books, it is Samuel Vimes story. For those that have not read any of the discworld books, the story follows a policeman in his attempts to find a murderer in the city of Ankh-Morpark. The reason for this is, that in the city of Ankh-Morpark, no one is ever murdered; they are 'inhumed' by assassins, or commit suicide by making rock jokes in a Troll area of the city, or they commit suicide by making a dwarf joke when one happens to be present... Pratchett takes this simple concept and, like all of his works, flips it on his head. A good book to start reading Pratchett, but not the best. For that, I recommend "Monstrous Regiment", a stand alone story.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Terry Pratchett does it again with his excellent city watch series. In Men At Arms, the king of meaningful satire takes on royalty, guns, and racism and somehow emerges unscathed. The jokes are nonstop - you'll find a pun, an obscure cultural reference, a prat fall, and a complicated in-joke within lines of each other. The emotion is real, and Carrot gets his day in the sun (and Angua her night in the moonlight). While I missed Sam (he's not center stage for much of the book), Carrot is fascinating to watch at work.PLOT SPOILERS recap: Sam is getting married to Sybil and retiring from the watch, but a murder draws him into one last investigation. Something deadly has been stolen from the Assassin's Guild and now bodies are turning up everywhere. To complicate matters, the watch has become equal opportunity, and the dwarf (Cuddy) and troll (Detritus) who are now Watchmen find it hard to get aside their racial differences until their shared adventures in the watch bring them together. Gaspode reluctantly helps Angua return to Carrot after he discovers she's a werewolf. Vetinari keeps forbidding Sam to investigate the case (because he knows Sam's stubborn), but pushes him too far. Sam returns to his drinking, and in his absence, Carrot takes charge and uses his natural charisma to keep the city from tearing itself apart in race riots. Ironically, the murders are committed by those who know Carrot is really the king of the city and want to put him back on the throne. The mysterious weapon is a gun who's god-like powers drive the men who possess it mad. In the end, Carrot and Sam catch the murderer on the day of Sam's wedding, destroy the gun, and save the day. Vetinary grants a list of Carrot's demands (in the wake of him refusing to pursue the throne and saving the city) which create a much larger watch headed up by a newly-knighted Sir Samuel Vimes.
polarbear123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great to have all the characters of the Night Watch back again. It helps if you have read the first book with Carrot in it (I can't quite remember which one it is) but no matter this is a hugely comic tale, the actual plot is almost irrelevant as there is so much to enjoy on every page with all of the in jokes and satire that you expect from a Pratchett book. Have to say that this book cheered me up from a bad mood immensely. Give me more Pratchett please!!!!
Aldrea_Alien on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I quite love a good mystery plot, so long as they¿re not too thick. But I¿ve a nasty habit of, when wanting to know something now, flicking further on into the book. This is true of anything I read. Sometimes I¿ll find I¿ve already read certain scenes two or three times before I¿ve even gotten near that section of the book.Yet there¿s something about Men at Arms that invites me to keep reading straight through. I¿m not sure if it¿s Vimes or Carrot that draw me most, it¿s sure as anything not Nobby (though, he¿s got a strange sort of charm), but I¿ve a sneaky suspicion that it might be a combo of the two. And there¿s the added bonus that I, just through reading the beginning, already know who did some of the crimes pretty early on.Then there¿s Angua ...I¿m liking her, a lot. In particular, the way she¿s portrayed with a paw, I mean foot, firmly planted on both sides of what she is and she uses it to the Watch¿s advantage. I particularly like how the sense of smell is portrayed with colours. ^_^ And her relationship with Carrot was ... unexpected. Not the relationship itself, mind, the way it starts. Though how he found out she was a werewolf was quite amusing.
love2laf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the turning point for me in the Discworld series. The humour is still there, and funnier than ever, but there is a type of philosophy to it. Most especially, Vimes's theory of boots and how the rich stay rich. There are books in the series that when I re-read them, it's like popcorn, fun and enjoyable, but not satisfying. Fantastic!
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another fine effort.The sequel to Guards Guards, this onbviously also features Capatain Vimes and his motley band of Night Watch, keeping the barbarians away from the gates of Ankh Morpok. Or more precisely patrolling the streets ringing a bell and shouting "All's Well" but only if everything is All Well. Ankh Morpok doens't suffer from racial tensions - when you have different species living in the same city black/white/male/female are all the same to non-humans. In an effort to promote diversity the Patrician orders the NightWatch to take on some Dwarves, Trolls and a w..... the last word never does get finished though Corporal Carrot eventually does manage to figure it out. During a patrol the guards stumble across the body of the unfortunate dwarf Hammerlock with a lagre hole where his chest ought to be. Some new power has entered the city. And Vimes, even though he is getting married in a few days time, wants to make sure no-one else dies like this. Suspects though are thin on the ground and you'd have to be a complete fool to think of taking on the might of the Assassin's Guild, especially when you have recieved orders to the contrary.Some really really bad puns in this one. Other than that it's the usual madcap plot, a scattering of bizzare ideas I was particularly impressed with the Pork Futures warehouse - where pork is stored until the future orders materialise... And other subtle commentary on the peculiar way we run our cities and think of them as normal. Doesn't always quite hang together, but generally funny and subversive at the same time. I wish the definition of politican had been expanded upon.
jnicholson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Watch must move with the times and incorporate some of races living (or otherwise) in the modern city of Ankh-Morpork. This does not relieve it of its day-saving responsibilities. Carrot is given a love-interest, Angua, but (being Carrot) can't be distracted from his duty. One of my favouries.
ravenwood0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
391 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It was refreshing to see so much of Carrot's point of view, though I do adore Sam Vimes (and we get plenty of him as well). Men at Arms shows us the evolution of the Watch from the bumbling foursome in Guards! Guards! to the well-trained (and multi-specied) group we see in later books. In Men At Arms, the watch has to investigate a theft and a string of murders, all while navigating the tricky political waters that would much rather sweep everything under the carpet. A+
FeegleFan2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To put it plainly, this book was just FUN.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of all the discworld 'themes' I like the City Watch the best. This one introduces some great new characters who stick around for several more books. Good story, good jokes
keristars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One thing I've found with the Discworld series is that the books start out fantastic, but when I start feeling like everything is coming together for the finale, they sort of fizzle and squirm and lose all momentum until the finale does arrive (finally). It's frustrating and usually has me leaving the books for a bit when I hit the 2/3 mark.Happily, I did not have that problem with Men at Arms. It was a great book all the way through, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I suspect that my enjoyment may have been tempered had I been at all familiar with police procedural dramas, or then again, maybe it would have been enhanced? But either way, I really know nothing of the genre, so I read the novel as a general humor thing than a specific parody (er, even though I knew it's a parody and all).Among the things I like best in the novel are: Carrot's weird charisma and the way he tries to date Angua; the troll vs dwarf feud; and just about every scene with Vimes. I'm always fond of Ankh-Morpork, and there was a lot of it here - it's really practically a character itself, I suppose.I can't say there's anything in the book that I didn't like, or really even much that I liked a lot less than my favorite bits. I suppose I thought the investigative scenes with the Assassins and Fool Guilds weren't much my thing, nor the scenes with the Gonne, but I didn't actively dislike them, either. But, then, those happened to be some of the most strikingly "police procedural" parts of the book.This one is definitely getting grouped with the other Discworld books that I look forward to rereading in the future.
ironicqueery on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book in the Discworld series. This one focuses on the Guard and the havoc caused by the finding of a gun. A philosophical look at the structure of politics and ruling bodies is also found within the book. A great read, as always, from Pratchett.
kristenn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My second Discworld book. Half a star better than Guards! Guards! Continue to particularly enjoy the characterization. Storyline is formula but in a good, cozy way. More complex plot than the last one. Fewer goofy pop culture refs for humor, thankfully. Still don't care for the Librarian. And Carrot's intelligence feels very inconsistent. But will definitely continue with the series.
5hrdrive on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable. This time we're solving a string of crimes in old Ankh-Morpork with Captain Vimes and Corporal Carrot of the Night Watch. I've found the stories centering around the Guards of the Night Watch to be my favorites in the Discworld series.
lorelorn_2007 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pratchett's second discworld 'guards' novels about the watch of Ankh-Morpork moves a long at a fast pace, while still having ample room for character development. The watch is expanding and the old stalwarts know they have to move with the times, allowing recruits from ethnic minorities (dwarfs, trolls) in the watch. Even, so it's rumoured, members of the undead. But not vampires, never vampires.
gercmbyrne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Terry Pratchett is a god who walks among men. The entire Discworld series is a joy and only a strange mad creature cursed by gods and man would refuse to read and love these books!Vimes and Carrot, Nobby and Colon - suddenly find themselves in charge of new recruits. There's a dwarf, a troll, and worst of all a woman...
gimmemoore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Pratchett gem. Only just started reading his novels, read the recent ones (Going Postal onwards) so am now going back to his older ones. Further adventures of the Ankh-Morpork night watch, brilliantly funny to see them evolve and I love Vetinari.
Magus_Manders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my more favorite Diskworld books so far. It is a perfect example of Pratchett's signature story construction, giving us an equal taste of humor, suspense, romance, a little bit of horror, and ultimately fulfillment. Although it has some of his standard characters, such as Captain Vimes and Gaspode the talking dog, Pratchett weaves a host of new and unique faces into the mix, and really makes us care about the, especially when the tone shifts from wisecracking to downright dangerous. The story is engrossing enough that, even though I was forced to put the book down for nearly a month, I was able to jump right back in and achieve the same frantic pace I left at. Every Diskworld book has a few points that are simply profoundly funny, but here Pratchett uses perhaps one of the most side-splitting little jokes I have ever read (so funny in fact that I have told people of it without any context and still gotten a laugh). 'Men at Arms' is Diskworld at its finest, and the story of the Guards is now my favorite in the series. I just got 'Guards Guards' and 'Night Watch', so hopefully soon I'll see how these character's got started, and what Pratchett put them through in the future. Peace out!
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent City Watch novel. These are always my favorites!
AAmell More than 1 year ago
My version only has 420 pages... What gives?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The puns! The cleverness! The well-written characters, setting, and plot! Truly, an enjoyable read!