Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

(7.9/10)

In the third instalment of Terry Pratchett’s City Watch storyline, and the nineteenth novel overall in his Discworld universe, Pratchett introduces yet more ethnic groups into the City Watch and provides us with the most unlikely of replacements for Ankh-Morpork’s Patrician.

One of the continuing plotlines for Ankh-Mopork is the absurdity of its ruler, Havelock Vetinari. A former member of the Guild of Assassin’s, holds the city in what can only really be called a vicelike grip. That being said, he finds himself the target of many attempts on his life and position, although is never really at any harm from them. He runs the cities underworld like he runs the business world, saying that the only sort of crime he likes is organised crime; organised by him!

Naturally, Commander Vimes, once again promoted as a result of the previous books ending, is on hand to help Vetinari out, although it’s obvious halfway through that Vimes’ involvement is purely academic. But together the two make up the majority of power in Ankh-Morpork and two of the cleverest characters ever written.

This story isn’t as good, for me at least, as Men at Arms was. It’s more of a cop novel than a fantasy book, which is brilliant in its own way but not what I expected when I read it so long ago. Subsequent readings have endeared the book to me more and more, but still ranks in under Men at Arms.

That’s not to say the story isn’t clever. Poisoning the Patrician is clever, but who’s behind it and why are they doing it? And is everything as it seems at first blush? Probably not, but with the mass of clues in the way who can tell?

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, the earlier Discworld novels aren’t as refined as the latter. Which makes utter and complete sense, but is still a word of warning. When you hear people describe the genius and brilliance behind the Discworld books, those characteristics are set up in these early books and then flourish in latter books. These are books you want to read, as they are clever, smart, and fill in a lot of the blanks on characters you may have read or will read when you get to Night Watch and the like. But don’t expect 10/10 brilliance straight away.

Review by

All reviews for Terry Pratchett's The Discworld Series series


The Colour Of Magic
The Discworld Series: Book 1
8.1

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
9.0

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
7.9

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
8.5

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 [...]


Jingo
The Discworld Series: Book 20
8.8

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
9.8

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 [...]


Night Watch
The Discworld Series: Book 28
9.5

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 [...]


Mort
The Discworld Series: Book 3
9.0

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 [...]


Equal Rites
The Discworld Series: Book 3
8.5

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
9.5

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 [...]


Monstrous Regiment
The Discworld Series: Book 31
9.2

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
9.5

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 [...]


Going Postal
The Discworld Series: Book 33
8.5

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' [...]


Wintersmith
The Discworld Series: Book 35
9.5

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 [...]


Making Money
The Discworld Series: Book 36
9.0

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 [...]


Unseen Academicals
The Discworld Series: Book 37
9.7

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
9.0

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 [...]


Snuff
The Discworld Series: Book 39
9.3

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 [...]


Sourcery
The Discworld Series: Book 4
8.0

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 [...]


Raising Steam
The Discworld Series: Book 40
9.0

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
7.0

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 [...]


Guards! Guards!
The Discworld Series: Book 8
7.7

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 [...]

More Terry Pratchett reviews


A Blink of the Screen
9.0

A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Press,; to the origin [...]


The Long Earth
8.8

1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the m [...]


The Long War
5.5

A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airs [...]


The Long Utopia
7.0

2045-2059. After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Eart [...]


Nation
9.7

On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it [...]


Good Omens
9.4

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter - the world's only totally reliable guide to the future - the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, [...]


The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide
9.5

Greetings, adventurer! We lay before you this most comprehensive gazetteer encompassing all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses, [...]


The World of Poo
9.0

From Snuff: 'Vimes' prompt arrival got a nod of approval from Sybil, who gingerly handed him a new book to read to Young Sam. Vimes looked at the cover. The ti [...]


Dodger
9.3

Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar [...]


The Carpet People
7.0

In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet... That's the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many diff [...]

15+

Feet of Clay reader reviews

7.9/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak’s children’s picture book has become an acknowledged classic. A winner of the Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1963

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

9+

The Amulet of Samarkand

by Jonathan Stroud

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 [...]

Series: The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 2003

Score: 101

Our rating: 9.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

12+

The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1973

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.5 | 3 positive reader reviews

12+

Red Dwarf: Better Than Life

by Grant Naylor

Rimmer, Cat and Kryten are trapped in a computer game which can transport players directly to the world of imagination, a world where each player can enjoy fabulous success [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1990

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Bloody Rose

by Nicholas Eames

Live fast, die young.Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventur [...]

Series: The Band #2
Published: 2018

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Knights of the Dead God

by James Jakins

The half-orc girl, Mikaia Goretusk, has been torn from her home. Her world. Her family. Her only allies are the holy knight, Arthur Shield, once sworn to kill everyone she [...]

Series: Mikaia Goretusk #1
Published: 2018

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.2 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Son of a Liche

by J Zachary Pike

A doubly disgraced dwarven hero. A band of accident-prone adventurers. Giving redemption a second shot may have been a grave mistake…Still bruised and heartbr [...]

Series: The Dark Profit Saga #2
Published: 2018

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.2 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The Screaming Staircase

by Jonathan Stroud

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 [...]

Series: Lockwood & Co #1
Published: 2013

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

100 Miles and Vampin

by C T Phipps

Peter Stone is a poor black vampire who has found undeath isn't all it was promised to be. There's no vast riches, innate cool, or super-sex appeal. No, instead, th [...]

Series: Straight Outta Fangton #2
Published: 2018

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.1 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+