If you are already a fan of the Disc World books don’t waste time reading the reviews just buy this book and start enjoying. If don’t you don’t know the series, this is a very good book and stands pretty well alone, but I might recommend you start with ‘Guards Guards’ then listen to the ‘Fifth Elephant’ and what I believe is Pratchett’s best book so far ‘Thud’ before moving on to ‘Snuff’. This story picks up just about four years after ‘Thud’ when the splendid Vimes is forced to take a vacation in the country. Vimes being Vimes he unearths all kinds of evil plots, but I won’t spoil your enjoyment by going into them here.
The pace of the story is leisurely and packed with marvelous detail and observation, the parallel with the Blandings novels of Wodehouse is well deserved. There are a couple of oddities which fans might scratch their heads at. For example in ‘Unseen Academicals’ we are first introduced to the Goblins and in that book they were a scarce almost extinct people, in this they are as common as roaches. In ‘Thud’ the Summoning Dark possess and then leaves Vimes, in this book it’s back in Vimes giving him special powers and giving evidence with a Welsh accent. Having said that the hard core fans will more likely be amused and intrigued by the games Pratchett plays rather than annoyed. He revives and extends characters he merely sketched in other books, bringing together a cast which spans maybe six or seven of the Disc books. All in all it’s splendid entertaining, satisfying writing, beautifully read and I am enormously pleased to see that the health problems Pratchett is suffering are not impacting his genius.
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