This book introduces some new characters, including Carrot, a very tall dwarf who journeys to Ankh-Morpork to join the City Watch. He is under the impression that the Watch is a respected,effective crime-fighting force dedicated to keeping the streets of the city safe and peaceful. In reality, it is composed of a rather motley crew and led by the drunk, embittered Captain Vimes. Carrot, however, is very enthusiastic and takes the laws of the city very literally - which is immensely entertaining.
Meanwhile, a mysterious secret brotherhood, after stealing a certain book from the library of the wizards' university library, begin performing rites that have dramatic and shocking results. As the plot thickens, Captain Vimes, the quintessential film noir detective, finds himself determined to solve a baffling mystery, with the help of Carrot and his disheveled group of Watchmen.
In the earlier books of the Discworld series, Pratchett had great fun lampooning fantasy fiction, and here he takes on the mystery, and he does it with style and humor - but never at the expense of his characters, who are very real, complex, and immensely sympathetic. I adore the Unseen University librarian, of course - he was turned into an orangutan in one of the earlier books, and decided to stay that way because it suits him. He is not pleased about the theft of one of his books - and it is never a good idea to cross an orangutan - or a librarian, come to think of it. There are many other wonderful characters - and even the antagonists are wonderful in their own immensely interesting way - and the book is a delight to read from beginning to end.
It can be overwhelming to contemplate reading a series with as many books in it as the Discworld series, but the great thing about it is that it contains mini series within the many books. This is the first of the Watch books, and it is a great place to start reading, for those who are interested in giving the series a try.
There are always so many quotable passages in Terry Pratchett's novels, but I will try to restrain myself and leave you with only a few:
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."
People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.
The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.
And last but not least, the motto of the City Watch: FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC.
Books in the Discworld series:
1. The Color of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
6. Wyrd Sisters
8. Guards, Guards
10. Moving Pictures
11. Reaper Man
12. Witches Abroad
13. Small Gods
14. Lords and Ladies
15. Men at Arms
16. Soul Music
17. Interesting Times
19. Feet of Clay
22. The Last Continent
23. Carpe Jugulum
24. The Fifth Elephant
25. The Truth
26. The Thief of Time
27. The Last Hero
29. Monstrous Regiment
30. Going Postal
32. Making Money
33. Unseen Academicals
Guards! Guards! (#8 in the Discworld series) by Terry Pratchett; narrated by Nigel Planer (Random House Audio Books, 2007)
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com
Also reviewed at:
A Book a Week: "Like anything I've read by Pratchett so far, the truth is revealed in such a careful, imaginative way that I was both awed and thrilled. There are moments of catharsis in this novel that any fiction I've read would be hard pressed to match, and yet I never felt overly manipulated."
Novel Reaction: "Sam Vimes is my favorite Discworld character, winner of a close competition since Discworld also has Death (who speaks in all caps), luggage (a vicious protector of owner and property) and Moist von Lipwig (the greatest con-man who ever lived)."
The Wertzone: "Guards! Guards! is Terry Pratchett's tribute to detective novels and all those hapless extras dressed in chainmail whose only job in films is to run into the grand hall and get cut down by the hero."