Thud!

Last updated
Thud!
Terry Pratchett - Thud 0385608675.jpg
First edition
Author Terry Pratchett
Cover artist Paul Kidby
LanguageEnglish
Series Discworld
34th novel 7th City Watch novel (8th story)
Subject Fantasy, racism, trolls, dwarves, chess
Characters
Samuel Vimes, Ankh-Morpork City Watch
Locations
Ankh-Morpork, Koom Valley
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
2005
ISBN 0-385-60867-5

Thud! is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 34th book in the Discworld series, first released in the United States on 13 September 2005, then the United Kingdom on 1 October 2005. It was released in the U.S. three weeks before Pratchett's native UK in order to coincide with a signing tour. It was nominated for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2006. [1]

Contents

Plot

As the book opens, a dwarf demagogue, Grag Hamcrusher, is apparently murdered. Ethnic tensions between Ankh-Morpork's troll and dwarf communities mount in the build-up to the anniversary of the Battle Of Koom Valley, an ancient battle where trolls and dwarfs seemingly ambushed each other. Lord Vetinari persuades Commander Vimes to interview a vampire applicant to the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. The new recruit, Lance-Constable Salacia "Sally" von Humpeding, along with Sergeant Angua and Captain Carrot, is attached to the investigation surrounding Hamcrusher's death.

Meanwhile, Corporal Nobbs and Sergeant Colon begin an investigation into the theft of the fifty-foot painting, The Battle of Koom Valley by the insane artist Methodia Rascal, from a city art gallery. Most of the populace believe the painting holds clues to a treasure hidden in Koom Valley. Nobbs has a new girlfriend, exotic dancer Tawneee; Nobby first caught her eye when slipping an IOU into her garter. Other subplots involve the tension between vampires and werewolves (new recruit Lance-Constable von Humpeding and Sergeant Angua), and the presence of Vetinari's auditor, A.E. Pessimal, in the Watch House.

Vimes finds himself pressured by Lord Vetinari to solve the murder quickly, before inter-species war erupts in Ankh-Morpork. Vimes and Sergeant Angua visit the dwarves' under-city mine, where a nervous dwarf named Helmclever draws a mysterious sign in the spilled coffee on his desk. In a fit of his particular brand of omnidirectional anger, Vimes veers off into the mine where he cuts himself, he supposes, on a locked door. Later, he persuades the deep down dwarves to allow Captain Carrot to be the "smelter" who looks for the truth of the murder.

When Carrot tries to find that truth, however, he is shown a body that was mutilated after death, and a confusing patch of clues. Angua discovers that a troll really was in the mine at the time of the murder, much to the consternation and fear of the dwarves who claimed a troll did the killing. This troll turns out to be Brick, who is a gutter troll of the lowest sort, addicted to Troll drugs beginning with "S," (such as Slab, Scrape, Slice, Slide etc.) and who becomes the protégé of Sergeant Detritus.

Angua and Sally soon discover four more bodies in the mine, dwarves clearly murdered by other dwarves. One of these dwarves used his own blood to scrawl yet another mysterious rune on the back of a door in the mine—the same door that Commander Vimes accidentally 'cut' himself on the other side of. The Deep-Downers flee for the mountains, taking the talking cube they found at the bottom of Methodia Rascal's well, and the painting of Koom Valley. As a parting shot, they send a squad of their guards to invade the Vimes/Ramkin family mansion and attempt to murder Lady Sybil Ramkin and Young Sam. The two survive unharmed, thanks to the fighting talents of Vimes and the family butler, Willikins, as well as a dwarf being foolish enough to provoke Sybil's dragons.

Vimes, along with family and several members of the Watch, travels to Koom Valley. He believes he is pursuing justice, but an astute troll king named Mr. Shine and a bright young grag named Bashfulsson know that Vimes is carrying the Summoning Dark, the quasi-demonic entity that wreaks vengeance on dwarves who have done evil in the sight of other dwarves. Vimes acquired the Summoning Dark when he touched the cursed door in the city mine, but his own internal watchman proves stronger than it is.

Vimes soon discovers the real secret of Koom Valley: the trolls and dwarves did not intend war, but had originally come to Koom Valley to broker peace. Weather conspired against them and after a thick fog caused a "double ambush", a flash flood carried them into the caverns below.

The Deep-Downers intended to destroy the evidence of this attempt at peace to continue the war between troll and dwarf and had sought out the cave where the surviving trolls and dwarfs had been washed. Preserved as a form of stalagmite, troll and dwarf had died as friends in the cavern while the ancient troll king and dwarf king played a game of Thud.

As the book ends, the tomb of the dead trolls and dwarves is opened to the public, in the hope that the two races will learn to end their centuries of animosity. Back in Ankh-Morpork the equipment that the Deep-Downers had abruptly left behind in their haste has been confiscated, under the clause of eminent domain by Lord Vetinari, seeing them as useful for his future "Undertaking" project.

Reception

Strange Horizons found it to be "(l)ess-than-transcendent Pratchett", but noted that this meant it was "still better and more enjoyable, more worth reading than almost anything but more Pratchett", and expressed concern that Vimes' "immensely satisfying" victory over the Summoning Dark was at the expense of "the compelling contradiction in his nature", thereby making him a less unpredictable character. [2] Kirkus Reviews found it "(b)itingly relevant and laugh-out-loud funny," while assessing that Pratchett "loses his way a bit towards the end." [3]

Grumpy Old Bookman declared it to be one of Pratchett's "funniest" — although "not the strongest (...) in the last five years [2000-2005]" and considered that it would make a better film than most Discworld novels. [4]

Board game

Thud! is named after, and heavily features, the boardgame Thud. The game was developed earlier as a piece of Discworld merchandise and was inspired by the Discworld novels rather than originating in them. A new edition of the game was released at the same time as the book with a new game variation called 'Koom Valley Thud'.

Related Research Articles

<i>Jingo</i> (novel) Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

Jingo is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, part of his Discworld series. It was published in 1997.

<i>Feet of Clay</i> (novel) Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

Feet of Clay is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the nineteenth book in the Discworld series, published in 1996. The story follows the members of the City Watch, as they attempt to solve murders apparently committed by a golem, as well as the unusual poisoning of the Patrician, Lord Vetinari.

Sam Vimes fictional character from Terry Pratchetts Discworld novel series

His Grace, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel "Sam" Vimes is a fictional character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Vimes is depicted in the novels as somewhere between an Inspector Morse-type 'old-school' British policeman, and a film noir-esque grizzled detective. His appearances throughout the Discworld sequence show him slowly and grudgingly rising through the ranks of both police force and society. As of his latest promotion, his full name and title is: "His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes": When serving as Ambassador for Ankh-Morpork, he is also referred to simply as "His Excellency", and is also nicknamed "Blackboard Monitor Vimes", "Vimes the Butcher/Butcher Vimes" and "Vetinari's Terrier" : According to his wife, Sybil, Vimes is recognised by many as Lord Vetinari's right-hand man.

<i>Guards! Guards!</i> Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

Guards! Guards! is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the eighth in the Discworld series, first published in 1989. It is the first novel about the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. The first Discworld computer game borrowed heavily from Guards! Guards! in terms of plot.

Lord Vetinari Fictional character from Terry Pratchetts Discworld novel series

Lord Havelock Vetinari, Lord Patrician of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork, is a fictional character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, a series of forty-one books describing a parallel universe whose main world has reflections of our Earth. He is depicted as the ruler of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork. Vetinari is sometimes said to have been based on the Italian statesman and diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, but in fact favours a subtly different form of administration.

<i>Men at Arms</i> book by Terry Pratchett

Men at Arms is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 15th book in the Discworld series, first published in 1993. It is the second novel about the Ankh-Morpork City Watch on the Discworld. Lance-constable Angua von Überwald, later in the series promoted to the rank of Sergeant, is introduced in this book. Lance-constable Detritus is introduced as a new member of the watch as well, though he had already appeared in other Discworld novels, most notably in Moving Pictures. Also notable is the only appearance of Lance-constable Cuddy.

<i>The Fifth Elephant</i> book by Terry Pratchett

The Fifth Elephant is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 24th book in the Discworld series. It introduces the clacks, a long-distance semaphore system. The novel was nominated for the Locus Award in 2000.

The Ankh-Morpork City Watch is the police force of the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork in the Discworld series by the English writer Terry Pratchett.

Moist von Lipwig

Moist von Lipwig is a fictional character from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. He is the protagonist of the novels Going Postal, Making Money, and Raising Steam.

Discworld (world) fictional universe by Terry Pratchett

The Discworld is the fictional setting for all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novels. It consists of a large disc resting on the backs of four huge elephants which are in turn standing on the back of an enormous turtle, named Great A'Tuin as it slowly swims through space. The Disc has been shown to be heavily influenced by magic and, while Pratchett has given it certain similarities to planet Earth, he has also created his own system of physics for it.

<i>Wheres My Cow?</i> book by Terry Pratchett

Where's My Cow? is a picture book written by Terry Pratchett and illustrated by Melvyn Grant. It is based on a book that features in Pratchett's Discworld novel Thud!, in which Samuel Vimes reads it to his son.

Ankh-Morpork fictional city

Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state which features prominently in Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novels.

<i>Discworld</i> Fantasy book series

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. The series began in 1983 with The Colour of Magic and continued until the final novel The Shepherd's Crown was published in 2015, following Pratchett's death. The books frequently parody or take inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with cultural, political and scientific issues.

<i>Snuff</i> (Pratchett novel) book by Terry Pratchett

Snuff is the 39th novel in the Discworld series, written by Terry Pratchett. It was published on 11 October 2011 in the United States, and 13 October 2011 in the United Kingdom. The book is the third-fastest-selling novel in the United Kingdom since records began, having sold over 55,000 copies in the first three days.

The fictional universe of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett features a number of invented games, some of which have gone on to spawn real-world variants.

<i>Discworld: Ankh-Morpork</i>

Discworld: Ankh Morpork is a board game set in the largest city-state in Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Designed by Martin Wallace and Treefrog Games, the game revolves around the playing of cards and placing minions onto the board. Each player attempts to meet the win condition for the personality that they randomly and secretly selected at the start of the game. The game features many characters from the Discworld series, but players do not need to have any knowledge about the books.

<i>A Blink of the Screen</i> book by Terry Pratchett

A Blink of the Screen is a 2012 short fiction anthology by Terry Pratchett. Spanning the author's entire career, the collection contains almost all of his short fiction, whether or not set in the Discworld.

The Watch is a fantasy police procedural television series under development by BBC America, which ordered an eight-part season in October 2018. The series is inspired by the stories about the Ankh-Morpork City Watch from the Discworld series of fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett.

<i>Raising Steam</i> book of Terry Pratchett

Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld novel, written by Terry Pratchett. It was the penultimate one published before his death in 2015. Originally due to be published on 24 October 2013, it was pushed back to 7 November 2013. It stars Moist von Lipwig, and features the introduction of locomotives to the Discworld, and an entirely new character.

References

  1. "2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  2. Thud! by Terry Pratchett, reviewed by Juliana Froggatt, published 19 December 2005; retrieved February 20, 2018
  3. THUD! by Terry Pratchett, reviewed at Kirkus Reviews ; published August 1, 2005; archived online May 20, 2010; retrieved November 26,2018
  4. Terry Pratchett: Thud , reviewed by Grumpy Old Bookman; published November 2, 2005; retrieved February 20, 2018
Reading order guide
Preceded by
Going Postal
34th Discworld Novel Succeeded by
Wintersmith
Preceded by
Night Watch
8th City Watch Story
Published in 2005
Succeeded by
Snuff