Those of you who’ve read Pratchett don’t need me to tell you that this was a wonderful book. Those of you who haven’t yet discovered Pratchett’s wonderful books, go get started immediately. Don’t start with this one (well, you can, but you’ll miss a little bit of why Commander Vimes is so intense), but Vimes and the City Watch are definitely a good place to dive into Discworld.
Sam Vimes, the commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is taken somewhat against his will on vacation with his wife and six-year-old son. They go to the countryside, where city-born Vimes is instructed to relax and stop being a policeman for a bit. Vimes, of course, finds this impossible. He quickly finds the few townsfolk who are a little too obviously nervous around him and goes on the hunt for crime.
The crime he finds isn’t exactly considered a crime by the folks in town, which makes it worse in Vimes’ eyes. A goblin girl was murdered in an attempt to frame Vimes (the perpetrators hoped to use her blood to cast suspicion about the disappearance of a local). The problem is, people see goblins as vermin, and the killing of one not a crime. Vimes, however, talks to the local goblins, meets the murdered girl’s husband, and quickly whips himself into a frenzy at the unfairness of it all.
Pratchett has focused before on the idea of personhood, putting the City Watch up against speciesism in Ankh-Morpork with dwarves, trolls, vampires, and even zombies. The lesson is always the same: if you’re sapient, people aren’t allowed to kill you (unless you’re trying to kill them first, of course). But the way the lesson is taught is always a wonderful ride, filled with great characters old and new, exciting adventures (including a chase scene on a riverboat this time), and Commander Vimes himself, who is one of my favorite Discworld denizens.