The Fifth Elephant

The Fifth Elephant

A Novel of Discworld

Book - 2000
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Everyone knows that the world is flat, and supported on the backs of four elephants. But weren't there supposed to be five? Indeed there were, and what happened to the fifth elephant is only one of the many perplexing mysteries solved in this new novel by today's most celebrated fantasy humorist.

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent Discworld novels have been number one bestsellers in England for more than a decade, securing him a position in the pantheon of satire and parody alongside Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen. Pratchett's fame, like his imagination, is now going global--if such a term can be used in connection with an author whose creation is so uncompromisingly (though no longer quite so unfashionably) flat.

Which brings us back to the missing mythical pachyderm. The Fifth Elephant begins, like so many of Pratchett's satirical inventions, with an invitation. This one is both royal and engraved, requiring that Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork constabulary attend as both detective and diplomat. The one role he relishes; the other, well, requires ruby tights.

Where cops (even those clad in tights) go, crime of course, follows--and an attempted assassination and a theft soon lead to a desperate chase from the low halls of Discworld royalty to the legendary fat mines of Uberwald, where lard is found in underground seams along with tusks and teeth and other precious ivory artifacts.

Vimes's "elephant" adventure is as profound as it is hilarious, sending up every aspect of modern life from royalty (a British specialty) to bureaucrats (inescapable anywhere), from cops (especially those unusually dressed) to criminals (who, like fools, have their own guild), from fantasy literature to satire itself.

The world is busy discovering Terry Pratchett. Shouldn't you be doing your part?

Publisher: New York : HarperPrism, c2000
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780061051579
Characteristics: 323, 16 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Sep 05, 2015

On the streets of Ankh-Morpork, something is stirring up the dwarf population. The normally quiet and law abiding people are starting to riot just as much as everyone else, and Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch have another crowd to break up. Captain Carrot, world's tallest dwarf, finally makes things clear; a new king is being appointed, and in the middle of a social revolution, the community is divided. When a worthless replica of a priceless dwarvish artifact goes missing back home, in the city, he is confused by the effort put into it. It seems like a stupid crime, but with the political troubles back in Uberwald, he remains suspicious, especially when Mr. Sonky, manufacturer of rubber goods, is pushed into his own vat. Then, he is called to the oblong office by Lord Vetinari, and sent to be a diplomat in Uberwald, where humans are a minority, among the werewolves, vampires, dwarfs, and trolls. There, he must attend the coronation of the new king. The situation worsens when Captain Carrot is unexpectedly called away, and Sergeant Colon is forced to take leadership of the watch.

This book Is a part of the Discworld City Watch series, and I'd very highly recommend reading the previous books, Guards, Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet Of Clay and Jingo first, to get to know the characters.

This is a brilliant mystery. Commander Vimes is a very good character, with a dedication to his job, and a relatively strong moral compass, especially considering the fact that he grew up in the sprawling city of Ankh-Morpork. The references are great, and the humor is over the top, and bold at times, but sometimes very subtle. Angua and Captain Carrot are also a good characters, with their conflicting personalities, but willingness to work together. I also think Lady Margolotta is fascinating, with her gentle intervention. Poor Sergeant Colon, mad with power, plagued by the unlicensed sugar theft, and Corporal Nobby vying for a promotion, is hilarious.

The book has a good plot, genius jokes, and complex, multidimensional characters. I would definitely recommend it.


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