Thud!, by Terry Pratchett

Thud! is a Discworld story — and if you’ve never read any of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, you’re missing some side-splitting humor. Fantasy and humor? Yeah, and nobody does it as well as Pratchett. I read this book on the plane over to Maui (I was getting a vacation while my husband attended a conference). My husband finally stopped asking me what I was laughing at, since the aircraft noise were too loud to read him the funny parts and they were just too frequent… well, it just became too difficult. I continued to giggle my way through the book while my husband opened his laptop and tried to ignore me.

This story involves Sam Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and one of my favorite characters. Vimes suffers from too much common sense, which often puts him at odds with the other denizens of Discworld. This time Vimes has to deal with the deep-seated antagonism between the dwarves and the trolls. One instigator that’s stirring up old hatred is Grag Hamcrusher, a dwarf that’s growing in influence. Until, that is, he’s found dead, done in by the troll club that’s left conveniently beside his height-challenged body. Vimes follows sometimes hysterically funny, and seemingly unrelated, clues as he learns far more than he ever wanted to know about the source of the trouble between trolls and dwarves.

Pratchett is a master at keeping track of all the details; something that you think is totally unrelated and only provided as comic relief will suddenly become deadly important at the climax of the novel. If you haven’t read any Discworld books, then you MUST start, and you can probably start with any one of them. Don’t be dissuaded by the amount of published Discworld books; none of the stories rely seriously upon any others, although it’s always fun to know the background of many of the characters. Thud! brings in many of my favorites and capably ties up a murder as well as exposing an old Discworld legend.

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