Saturday, October 15, 2011


Any new book by Terry Pratchett is an event in my life. I love his disc world series and I doubly love the books that deal with Sam Vimes, the copper. In past adventures we've found that Sam and the country do not mix. In his first foray out of town he was hunted down by werewolves and in his second he was half possessed by a dark spirit of vengeance and half drowned. So, its natural that he is reluctant to go on vacation at his wife's country estate. Unfortunately, if Sam Vimes is the unstoppable force, his wife can be (very sweetly) the immoveable object.

This forms the beginning of "Snuff," but like in any book with Sam Vimes it soon becomes a crackerjack of a crime story.  As he deals with problems of class, and the country which is far too noisy in all the wrong way for his tastes, Sam becomes aware that there is something not right.  Following his instincts it leads him to goblins.  Goblins are considered nothing but vermin, perhaps helped by the most unfortunate religion to ever afflict a race.  Goblins are charged with collecting all their nail clippings, ear wax, and snot to be buried with them in ceremonial pots.  That the pots are beautiful and valuable (without the innards so to speak), makes for another reason why goblins and the rest of the world do not get along.

The crimes though go far bigger than that.  Sam soon finds crimes within crimes within crimes.  He also finds a rather nasty customer who is a born killer.  This leads to some real excitement, the scene involving a paddle boat, a storm and a hell of a fight should not be missed.  In the end can Vimes solve the mystery, grab the bad guys, and still have vacation time with his young son who has reached that stage in life where poo is very interesting indeed?  Well, of course he will, but as always its in the how that makes the book a fun read.

A fun read it is.  Full of typical Pratchett bits of wit that always makes me smile.  My favorite was in describing a pig as "His father was a wild boar.  His mother was surprised."  For some reason that made me almost do a spit take on my e reader.  The book moves, heck it jogs, it runs, it doesn't slow down for a moment.  If there is one criticism its that I didn't like where Mr. Pratchett (oh sorry SIR Pratchett he's a knight now) took the character of Sam Vimes.  Sam was always a very salt of the earth type he didn't deal with any magic high muckiness (well, sometimes he'd cheat but that's Sam Vimes).  Well, in this book the events of the previous book "Thud" have marked Sam more than I thought.  The dark force that almost possessed Sam is still around and they seem.....chummy.  So much that the darkness lends some power to Sam allowing him to see in the dark and understand the Goblims.  Now, I can see the character of Sam Vimes using the tools given to him, but I don't like the direction it takes the character on the whole.  I want to keep Sam grounded.  Keep him away from magic powers, swords, powders, and for god sake mechanical owls.  That's just my feelings on the subject.

Again, a great book.  If you've not read a disc world book please start.  I would suggest "Men at Arms."  It's a good introduction to Sam Vimes.  Enjoy!

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