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    Review of NIGHT WATCH by Terry Pratchett (see his website)


    HarperCollins, 2002

    While chasing a psychopathic mass killer, Night Watch commander Sam Vimes, and the killer, are plunged into the past of Sam's youth. Once there, they can't help change history. The killer murders the man who taught young Vimes what he knows about policing. Unless he can apprehend the killer and return to the present, Vimes risks the destruction of the city he loves. But even if he succeeds, he knows that his actions in the past will change everything--including his marriage and his prospective child.

    Author Terry Pratchett (see more reviews of novels by Pratchett) has carved out a reputation as a writer who both makes you laugh--and think. The Discworld fantasy series is uniformly excellent, but NIGHT WATCH rates near the top of even this fine series. Vimes is a fully realized character. It is interesting to watch him relate to his younger self, and to the men who will someday be his leader and most faithful followers. Philosophical questions about fate vs. choice, and the nature of evil are disguised in witty dialogue and introspection.

    Pratchett's Discworld world is silly and funny--with its unseen University, the seemingly omniscient Vetinari, the mostly incompetent police force that nevertheless manages to keep order in a disorderly city, and its treckle mines--but it grows on you and Pratchett moves beyond absurd to deliver some real insights.

    All right, this review was a bit of a rave--I'll admit it. I picked up NIGHT WATCH expecting a laugh and put it down with a deeper appreciation of Pratchett as an author and of the world I live in--no reader can ask for more.

    FIVE STARS (BOOKSFORABUCK.COM SF/F Book of the year for 2002)

    Reviewed 1/24/03

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