Synopsis: Well, many things happen all at once all the time in Ankh-Morpork. The Patrician, Lord Vetinari was poisoned but lives. Three old men with no apparent connection to one another are murdered. Golems are behaving weirdly. Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of the City Guard takes on every case because crime cannot go unpunished and, honestly, there is nobody else.
What a dragon thinks: ‘Feet of Clay’ was the second or third Discworld novel I read and it was highly recommended to me by my girlfriend. And I thought, why not, the cover looks great. ‘Feet of Clay’ belongs to the City Watch Books, a loosely connected series that feature Samuel Vimes. It really doesn’t matter in which order you read them as they will always be amazingly weird and satisfactorily confusing. Don’t worry, you’ll love it.
I liked Sam Vimes immediately. The story begins with an assassination attempt on his life which doesn’t bother him at all and he would first finish shaving before dealing with the assassin (by letting him go because he seems promising). Lord Vetinari who used to be in the Assassins’ Guild is quite similar to Vimes but has an additional ten levels of cunningness. He, too isn’t very upset about being poisoned; can’t blame an honest person for trying. Vetinari knows he will never be really assassinated: he manoeuvred himself into a position where the reality of him being dead would be worse than him being alive.
You didn’t knock on the Patrician’s door. He summoned you in the certain knowledge that you would be there.
I had a bit of trouble finding into the story because I had never before read a City Watch Book and had to get to know the characters first. Next time it will be decidedly easier (hopefully). However, each more or less important character has their own backstory, doubts, feelings and thoughts. They are well-rounded characters who you just have to like immediately. The only one who annoyed me whenever he was on the page was Nobby for being … Nobby.
The plot follows different strands, even into people’s personal lives and leaves you wondering how they might fit together. At times it was difficult to tell what was even going on with all those deviations and digressions and in the end some things had nothing to do with the plot at all but I didn’t mind. With Ankh-Morpork being shrouded in mist during the night the setting immediately became darker and more mysterious. Shadows lurking in the mist, murders being committed. This added a nice clammy and creepy touch to the story.
Golems are treated as things in Ankh-Morpork, machines that work 24/7 without being paid or the need to rest. But what happens if a golem starts to think on its own? I really liked the way this problem was discussed, not solved, not really, but the first step was taken. I am all for golems to be treated better!
Pratchett has a lovely writing style. Shorter sentences and devoid of lengthy descriptions. There is a lot of dry humour and playing on words which I absolutely love! One of the reasons I read it in English because I didn’t want any great puns to be lost in translation.
Favourite characters: Vimes, Vetinari, Angua, Dorfl
Conclusion: After my initial issues to find my way into the story and distinguish the characters from one another I loved it. Dry, almost black humour is my favourite humour and there was plenty. Well-written characters with sometimes odd and hilarious names. And the gloom. I loved the gloom.
Details about the book:
- Author: Terry Pratchett
- Series: Discworld
- Publishing House: Orion Publishing Group
- Pages: 352
- Date of publication: June 5th 2014
- Binding: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-4732-0024-1