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ibsn13: 9780552152679
series: Watch - Book 7

Thud! by Terry Pratchett tells the story of Sam Vimes, head of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and his fellow coppers trying to solve a dwarf’s murder. The upcoming anniversary of the thousands years old Battle of Koom Valley is keeping tension high between the dwarves and the trolls; making it harder for the constables of the Watch to keep the peace and solve the crime.

Thud! is a Terry Pratchett novel through and through. There’s ample comedy interlaced with impactful action scenes with just a little bit of drama sprinkled in. This time around, it’s a little grittier and darker than usual.

Book 1: Guards! Guards! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Book 7: Thud! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It would be a lot simpler […] if this was a story. A sword is pulled out of a stone or a magic ring is flung into the depths of the sea, and with general rejoicing the world turns.

But this was real life. The world didn’t turn, it just went into a spin.

Thud! is about prejudice. The main plot as well as every sub plot has something to say about prejudice, how it can cloud our judgement and prevent us from doing the right thing and treating everyone with the respect they deserve.

The choice to have the protagonist be a prototypical white man in a position of power is great because I would have had a hard time taking the novel seriously if Terry Pratchett, a very white man, had chosen to tell this story from the perspective of a minority.

Sam Vimes is an honest man doing the best he can but sometimes that’s just not good enough. So, for me, throughout the novel, he flip-flopped between being the hero I was rooting for and the antihero I loved to hate.

Minor story spoilers

An example of this is when Sam Vimes suffers a particularly heinous attack from a few deep dwarves. He feels extremely angry and frustrated about this (rightfully so) but unfortunately he expresses that anger by mistreating other dwarves who had nothing to do with the attack.

This hits home for me because it’s something we see time and time again in our own world.

For example, post-911, Muslims around the world suffered from an increase in hate crimes against them. This is a tragedy because the actions of a few extremists (completely divorced from Islam) led to all this hate being directed towards the wrong people. Another more recent example of this was post-COVID, there was a similar increase in hate crimes towards Asian people who, obviously, had nothing to do with COVID, other than suffering because of it like everyone else.

So when Vimes starts getting pissed at dwarves in the same way, it felt real.

Thud! is filled with situations like this; touching on issues like discrimination in the workplace, police brutality, racism, etc. that lend a weight to the story that isn’t usually present in other Discworld novels. I’m really into it!

Thud! was published right after Going Postal (which is my favorite Discworld novel I’ve read so far) and they seem to share quite a bit of DNA. With Going Postal dealing with capitalism, toxic corporate culture, bureaucracy (and more!) instead of the topics covered in Thud!.

If you like Going Postal, you might like Thud! (and vice-versa). I love both tremendously.

As of right now, Thud! has taken my second favorite Terry Pratchett novel slot; bumping Thief of Time down to a respectable third place.

You can’t go wrong with Terry Pratchett. He’s just so consistently good at what he does, and I love his work because of it.