Snuff by Terry Pratchett
I've been a fan of Sir Terry Pratchett since my late teens, but of all his books the Sam Vimes titles have always been my favourite. I love the stories about the Watch, of Sam’s rise from gutter alcoholic in a dying Night Watch to His Grace the Duke, Commander of a blooming City Watch, hero of Koom Valley and proud father to Sam junior. But I've put off reading Snuff. I knew the chances were high of this being the LAST EVER Sam Vimes story, not just because of the author’s medical condition, but for the fact that the character is ageing. Sooner or later he isn't going to outrun or outfight the bad guy, and I'm going to lose one of my all-time favourite literary characters forever.
But I bit the bullet. And it had changed.
Sam Vimes is ordered off on holiday, taking Lady Sybil and young Sam to the Ramkin estates. Out of the city, Sam is out of his depth in what amounts to alien territory, but even there his copper instincts kick in. Once again, Sam is faced with a crime, and another case of speciesism that he just can’t ignore. Still partially possessed by the Summoning Dark and with his nose for trouble, Sam won’t let the downtrodden be... well, trodden on. Even though goblins are considered the lowest of the low.
For me, the first half of the book was off-key. I can’t really put my finger on why. Maybe I’d preconceived ideas that it would be different, and because I’d failed to finish Nation last year - the first Pratchett book that’s ever happened to me with – I was worried that it wouldn't be the Discworld I’d become used to. The small sections focusing on the Anhk-Morpork Watch seemed out of place and jarring, almost to the point where I started skipping them - they didn't seem very relevant. But about midway through the story settled down and I felt I was in familiar Vimes territory, even if the character might not agree. I particularly liked Pratchett's portrayal of an author - the infamous Miss Beadle - of whom young Sam was a big admirer. However, I found the villain, despite the inference he was the same kind of head-case as Carcer in Nightwatch, just didn't come across as evil enough. There are a couple of cool twists around him though, but no spoilers from me.
For those who believe in justice and karma, this is an excellent book and a perfect match to the previous Watch books. For Terry Pratchett fans, a must have. For me, I couldn't help but feel choked up at the end. Not because the story itself has a sad ending, but because I've had to say goodbye to a character I’ve loved so much for years and will probably never meet again.
Pippa Jay, 8.5/10
I feel that I could very well leave this review to my Twitter post:
Finished reading Terry Pratchett's new book, Snuff. Utterly brilliant. We need a new rating system dedicated to him.
If I could, then I would, but Lee would get cranky and, really, I’ll take any opportunity I can get to extoll the virtues of Sir Terry Pratchett.
I had Snuff finished in just over a day from when it arrived. I took it slowly, because you don’t want to rush good things like Terry Pratchett. While there is an almost infinite amount of re-readability to Pratchett’s works, the first time is always special, and you want to savour it.
Yes, I promise, I’m still talking about books.
Pratchett once again delves into the world of His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Without a doubt, Vimes is my favourite character, and when I originally heard that the next book would be a Vimes book I was pretty excited.
But I was a little wary because the blurb pretty much told us he wouldn’t be hanging around Ankh-Morpork, as he would be on holiday with his wife, Sybil, and his son, Young Sam.
But I should never have worried, as Pratchett has once again provided us with a book that, in all honesty, leaves me unable to rate it very well. At this point, I can pretty much only rate Pratchett books against other Pratchett books.
Pratchett writes in a way that you just know he’s made sure every word and sentence is perfect, but without that stuffiness that comes from allowing a writer to continually edit his own work in the hope that he’ll make it perfect (ie, Patrick Rothfuss, George Lucas).
The underlying political and moral alignment of Pratchett is very obvious, but it never comes across as preachy. The lessons learned and the insights gained are ones that we can either take on board, or we already have.
I won’t re-tread ground in trying to summarise the book, when the blurb says all you need and doesn’t spoil anything;
"According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.
And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe, but many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder.
He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, occasionally snookered and occasionally out of his mind, but not out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment.
They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all..."
If you’ve never picked up a Pratchett book, then why wait? Pick this up now! You will not regret it!
Unrateable (or, if you must, 10/10).
Joshua S Hill, 10/10
All reviews for: The Discworld Series
The Colour Of Magic
The Discworld Series: Book 1
In the beginning there was…a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smel...
Lords and Ladies
The Discworld Series: Book 14
The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth… It's Midsummer Night - no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there'...
Feet of Clay
The Discworld Series: Book 19
For Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by…well, more troubling times. Right now, it’s the latt...
The Light Fantastic
The Discworld Series: Book 2
A red star has appeared in the sky and the Discworld is heading right towards it. There is only one person who can save the world; but unfortunately this is the rather inep...
The Discworld Series: Book 20
Throughout history, there's always been a perfectly good reason to start a war. Never more so if it is over a 'strategic' piece of old rock in the middle of now...
The Fifth Elephant
The Discworld Series: Book 24
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that master...
The Discworld Series: Book 28
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of ...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romant...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunatel...
The Wee Free Men
The Discworld Series: Book 30
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching thinks her Granny Aching – a wise shepherd – might have been a witch, but now Granny Aching is dead and it’s up to Tiffany to...
The Discworld Series: Book 31
Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a h...
A Hat Full of Sky
The Discworld Series: Book 32
Something is coming after Tiffany . . .Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic – not chores and ill-tempered...
The Discworld Series: Book 33
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ... and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It'...
The Discworld Series: Book 35
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to w...
The Discworld Series: Book 36
It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for li...
The Discworld Series: Book 37
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood ...
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Discworld Series: Book 38
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head... It's not easy being a witch, and it's certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Ac...
The Discworld Series: Book 39
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam...
The Discworld Series: Book 4
There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven...
The Discworld Series: Book 40
To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of...
The Shepherds Crown
The Discworld Series: Book 41
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time ...
The Discworld Series: Book 8
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco ...
Have you read Snuff?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Snuff reader reviews
Karen from England
Couldn't agree more... Terry Pratchett is, quite honestly, in a different league to most fantasy writers, in that he can make you both laugh and think at the same time, and leaves you with something special after the book is finished - the feeling that your life, or at least that part of it you spend in your own head, has been enriched beyond measure. Deserves more than a 10, but if that's as far as the ratings go, then 10 it duly is.
9.7/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Bartimaeus Trilogy
When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation...
Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend. There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary m...
Lockwood & Co
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A nu...
In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been ...
A Lord of the Rings for the 21st century. Only a lot shorter. And funnier. And completely different. Conor thought he was an average teenager. OK, so his father only had on...
When young Jimbo Mambo books a room with Captain and Mrs Fanshaw in their Northernville lodging house, he is gradually introduced to their bizarre social circle. However, n...
Whimsical and poignant, Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights tells the story of Thomas Farmer who dreams of becoming a knight, sets out to save his ...
May Contain Traces of Magic
There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of them. Most a...
The third planet out from the star was blue, with green splodges. Dirt. Oh, the bomb thought. And then its courage, determination and nobility-of-spirit subroutines cut in,...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: