MLA Gold Award Site

Summary and book reviews of Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Night Watch

by Terry Pratchett

Night Watch
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2003, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Flung back in time by a mysterious accident, Sam Vimes has to start all over again. He must whip the cowardly, despised Night Watch into a crack fighting force -- fast. Because he knows what's going to happen. It's part of history. And you can't change history...

This morning, Commander Vimes of the City Watch had it all. He was a Duke. He was rich. He was respected. He had a silver cigar case. He was about to become a father.

This morning he thought longingly about the good old days.

Tonight, he's in them.

Flung back in time by a mysterious accident, Sam Vimes has to start all over again. He must get a new name and a job, and there's only one job he's good at: cop in the Watch. He must track down a brutal murderer. He must find his younger self and teach him everything he knows. He must whip the cowardly, despised Night Watch into a crack fighting force -- fast. Because Sam Vimes knows what's going to happen. He remembers it. He was there. It's part of history. And you can't change history . . .

But Sam is going to. He has no choice. Otherwise, a bloody revolution will start, and good men will die. Sam saw their names on old headstones just this morning -- but tonight they're young men who think they have a future. And rather than let them die, Sam will do anything -- turn traitor, burn buildings, take over a revolt, anything -- to snatch them from the jaws of history. He will do it even if victory will mean giving up the only future he knows.

For if he succeeds, he's got no wife, no child, no riches, no fame -- all that will simply vanish. But if he doesn't try, he wouldn't be Sam Vimes.

And so the battle is on. He knows how it's going to end; after all, he was there. His name is on one of those headstones. But that's just a minor detail ...

Chapter One


Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it.

Then he put his jacket on and strolled out into the wonderful late spring morning. Birds sang in the trees, bees buzzed in the blossom. The sky was hazy though, and thunderheads on the horizon threatened rain later. But for now, the air was hot and heavy. And in the old cesspit behind the gardener's shed, a young man was treading water.

Well ... treading, anyway.

Vimes stood back a little way and lit a cigar. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to employ a naked flame any nearer to the pit. The fall from the shed roof had broken the crust.

"Good morning!" he said cheerfully.

"Good morning, Your Grace," said the industrious treadler.

The voice was higher pitched that Vimes expected and he realized that, most unusually, the young man in the pit was in fact a young woman. It wasn't entirely unexpected -- the Assassins' Guild was aware ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series.

School Library Journal - Susan Salpini

This gripping novel is essential for fans of the series, and is also recommended for those who haven't had the pleasure of traveling there yet.

Booklist - Regina Schroeder

This time, though, the metropolis has a sense of its history and of the Right Thing to Do, which makes for something of a departure from the norm for many of the characters longtime Discworld readers know and love. Still, Pratchett has really developed the characters of the Watch, at least, since their early days in Guards! Guards! (1989), and it shows!

Kirkus Reviews

Not a side-splitter this time, though broadly amusing and bubbling with wit and wisdom both an excellent story and a tribute to beat cops everywhere, doing their hair-raising jobs with quiet courage and determination.

Reader Reviews

Chris Moorhead

Among my top 5 Pratchett novels of all time

Christopher Outen

"Night Watch" is probably the darkest and most contemplative of the Discworld books so far. Hardened copper Sam Vimes survives a magical storm only to find himself stranded in the past at the time of a terrible revolution; Carcer, a ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Night Watch, try these:

  • Something Rotten jacket

    Something Rotten

    by Jasper Fforde

    Published 2005

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop the hostile takeover of Hamlet by Orphelia?  Can Swindon win the world croquet championship and thus prevent the end of the world?  All this and more is revealed in this, the 4th volume in the Thursday Next series.

  • The Well of Lost Plots jacket

    The Well of Lost Plots

    by Jasper Fforde

    Published 2004

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In this delicious sequel to The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, Fforde's redoubtable heroine Thursday Next once again does battle with philistine bibliophobes.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday
    by Susan Rivers

    A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.