After the popularity of my post on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, I thought I’d face a fear of mine and write a post reviewing one of the mighty man’s novels. With thirty-six books in the Discworld series, I was slightly spoiled for choice, so I decided on arguably the best of them all – Night Watch.
In Night Watch, Watch Commander Sir Samuel Vimes is busy chasing criminal Carcer Dun, when he suddenly himself flung backwards in time by a magical storm. Realising he’s in a tricky situation, Vimes attempts to reach help with the wizards of Unseen University, but is unfortunately arrested on his way or breaking curfew. The worst part? He’s been arrested…by himself! Ironically winding up in a cell next to Carcer, Vimes is later taken for interrogation, when time gets frozen by Lu-Tze. The sweeper informs Vimes that Sergeant-At-Arms John Keel was meant to arrive at the Watch that day, but was murdered by Carcer! Vimes must now fool his younger self and assume the identity of John Keel, in order to teach himself the ways of the Watch.
Pratchett’s characters are always superb, but Night Watch stands apart from the others as a masterpiece of interplay and storytelling. Equally intelligent but separated by years of training and knowledge of the streets, the interaction between old Vimes and young Vimes is nothing short of masterful. For fans that already know the characters, seeing them in their young forms adds another level of humour to what is already a melting pot of conviviality.