Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 416
I should preface this review by admitting that I love all of Pratchett’s Discworld books, but this one in particular stands out for me. Perhaps it’s because of its subject matter – the Discworld is at war, over an island that rose out of the sea, and Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch thinks that a crime has happened somewhere, even if he’ll be damned if he can tell what it actually was.
Because of that subject matter, characters from all over the Disc can make an appearance, as they all converge on the same location in preparation for something that “makes the World Cup look like a friendly five-a-side”. That means that you get all the fun and games from a City Watch book, including characters like Leonard of Quirm, Lord Vetinari and Commander Sam Vimes himself, as well as a whole host of supporting characters that you don’t often get to see together.
This, then, is probably the most integrated of all of Pratchett’s stories, because no other really manages to capture the political complexities of the Discworld in the same way that this does. It’s like a gigantic game of chess, where each of the pieces is one of the key figures from Pratchett’s work and there are a half dozen players who keep swapping between black and white as the fancy takes them.
In terms of the writing, I feel like Sir Terry is at his sharpest here, and, as there always is when Leonard of Quirm is involved, there are also plenty of zany inventions which serve as a sort of crossover between fantasy and science fiction, although this is, of course, still primarily a humorous novel – the setting defines the humour, but the humour was there first, and the laughs will laugh forever.
You see, because of Sir Terry’s sad passing earlier this year, there are now a finite number of his books to choose from – Jingo is one of the better ones, but I do think you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve read most of the other books in the series, and especially the ones that came out before it. Because there are so many different characters for you to enjoy, a lot of the nuances will depend upon how familiar you are with them, and so some background reading wouldn’t go amiss. It’s a case of saving the best until last!