Jingo by Terry Pratchett
Review by Joshua S Hill
I’ve made it clear that the earlier Discworld books by Terry Pratchett aren’t as good as the latter. But when does “early” become “latter”? It happens with book number twenty, Hogfather, and continues into the twenty first novel, and the fourth City Watch story, Jingo.
This is easily one of the better books Pratchett had written at this point and it still stands up today against behemoth’s like Night Watch and Going Postal. We’re introduced to some more characters, but no real additions to the City Watch like in other books.
Ankh-Morpork is visited by a Klatchian Prince and his bodyguard, 71-Hour Ahmed (his name is explained in the book, and is worth the wait!). A crime is committed that sees Sir Samuel Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, begin an investigation within Ankh-Morpork. However the clues might point to villains within the city, Vimes soon finds himself on his way to Klatch in pursuit of the real villains.
The city soon is placed at war with Klatch, and placed under martial law under the command of Lord Rust. The Patrician resigns, but is soon on his way to Klatch with three very unlikely companions on his own secret mission, thanks to Leonard of Quirm’s ‘Going-Under-the-Water-Safely Device.’
The relationship between Vimes and Ahmed is a highpoint of this book, and one that is a joy to read every time I go back to Jingo. Nothing is quite as brilliant in Pratchett’s writing, even beyond the comedic genius and mirroring of our own world, than the interpersonal and character development of his characters. Vimes, despite the continuing escalation through the ranks of the Ankh-Morpork nobility, is still an everyday man, and a policeman at that.
This book is, honestly, a long police chase. It’s brilliant in that, because who knew you could make a police chase go for so long and be so intricate and clever. Maybe not as polished as the Night Watch to come, I’d be hard pressed to be able to point out just where it isn’t as polished.
If we haven’t convinced you of the genius of Terry Pratchett by now, then please go and pick up Jingo. It’s a real winner of a book. Clever, well written, and exceedingly funny in all the right places and serious as well.
Karen from England
Yet another example of TP's logical character progression (apart from Rincewind, who has nowhere else to go) and, yet again, you have to keep an eye on the background, as it were (the supporting characters are an absolute joy in this series!) Nice to know I wasn't the only one saying "why 71 hour?" and then, a bit further along, saying "oh, THAT'S why! Nice one!" Long live the Discworld... we need you!
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