by Terry Pratchett
The eighth Discworld
book introduces another recurring circle of characters. One of our new heroes is a big, honest, cheerful young man named Carrot who was raised by dwarves (he thinks of himself as a giant dwarf). Carrot joins up with the corrupt, sleazy, and virtually suicidal Night Watch in the city of Ankh-Morpork, just in time for the city to be terrorized by dragons that a secret society has conjured up in order to flush out the heir to the long-vacant throne.
In this city of cities, where the Assassins and Thieves have their own legally-recognized Guilds that make a certain level of crime legal (it's a glorified protection racket), the humble police force is pretty much a joke. You only belong to the City Watch if you've failed at everything else, or did something wrong to deserve the punishment. And you only last long at it if your instincts for self-preservation outstrip your desire to enforce the law.
Basically, there are no laws to enforce except, Don't make the Patrician angry (he's the leader of the city's mercantile class, and serves as a combination of city manager and ruthless tyrant). However the place used to have laws. Enter Carrot Ironfoundersson, whose application (by mail) to be on the City Watch is bewildering because nobody volunteers for the job, and who comes to town memorizing a huge book of laws that no longer really apply. And if he's not enough trouble, enter the dragon, whose purpose is to restore the monarchy that has lain dormant for hundreds of years. Whoever steps forth to vanquish it is supposed to be the rightful heir to the throne.
But all is not as it seems. And so enter a jaded, cynical, but still basically honorable captain of the City Watch, Samuel Vimes, who is naturally knurd (the opposite of drunk--I don't mean sober, which is only the absence of drunkenness, but a horrible kind of anti-drunkenness which is nasty to experience). Because of his sense of honor, and his knack for opening his big mouth when he shouldn't, he's been stagnating in this law-enforcement job in a town where laws are emphatically not enforced.
Vimes is feeling pretty hard-done-by, "brung low" by the woman that is his city, until he and his faithful squad (fat Sgt. Colon and cockney Corporal "Nobby" Nobbs, and now Carrot) get the assignment of a lifetime: to solve the problem of the dragon.
The result is an exciting, rollicking adventure yarn that owes a lot to hardboiled detective fiction (especially an existential speech by the Patrician, Lord Vetinari, toward the end of the book). You will meet old favorites--Death, the organgutan Librarian--plus new characters and concepts, and lots and lots of great gags. The characters are all nicely drawn. Have no fear; you will see Nobby, Colon, Vimes, and Carrot again.
Recommended Age: 14+
If you would like to contact Robbie, you may do so here.