Book Review: Jingo by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is a planet that is shaped not into a globe but into a disc and is the setting for Pratchett’s Discworld books. Jingo is the 21st Discworld novel written by Pratchett and is the fourth of a set that features the character of Sam Vimes and the City Watch of Discworld’s largest city, Ankh-Morpork. It was originally published in 1997.

Once upon a time on Discworld, there was a little island of no real importance called Leshp. Two of the Discworld’s powerful city-states, Ankh Morpork and Klatch, both laid claim to the island. But then, like Atlantis, it sank beneath the waves. But now Leshp is rising again and it has been rediscovered by two fishermen, one each from Ankh Morpork and Klatch. Of course, the dispute over the island starts again. Both countries start to look to war as the answer. The trouble is that Ankh-Morpork has nothing to fight with and no means of buying arms or men. Meanwhile, Klatch has been arming to the teeth.

So when some Klatchian notables come to Ankh-Morpork to talk about resolving the dispute with words rather than bullets, things start to look up. Sadly someone from the Klatchian delegation wants a shooting war, and so do some people from Ankh-Morpork. So it falls to Sam Vimes and his fellow City Watchmen, Corporals Carrott and Angua, to figure out who it is and what exactly is going on. First, an important Klatchian noble is assassinated and, as Vimes looks into that crime, he starts to find what appears to be a frame job of one of the Klatchians. Sam Vimes is soon on his way to Klatch to try and solve the crime before both cities are engulfed in a war.

“Jingo” is largely a good old-fashioned police procedural with the usual twists of Prachett’s Discworld universe thrown in for good measure.

Pratchett’s writing as usual is sharp and often times very funny. His characters are sharply drawn, and there is no mistaking who is who in the book. Perhaps, and unsurprisingly, Pratchett has started to self-copy some in this book, this being number 21 in the series.

Anyone that has read any of the previous Discworld novels would find this book to be better than most and certainly well worth a read. Those not familiar with the series would be better off starting somewhere else in the series, since “Jingo” seems to jump right off with little or no background explanations.

 

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