I have to confess that I didn’t ‘get’ Pratchett’s books when I picked up my first one. I started with the first book, The Colour of Magic, and it was a poor choice (not his best by a long way). Recommendations for them kept turning up though, so I finally gave another one a go, it was Guards! Guards! and boy was it good.
In Snuff, we’re back on the trail of Commander Vimes, this time having a holiday at his country residence, when he stumbles across smuggling, slaughter and goblin-trafficking. Goblins have long been thought of more as vermin than people, but they’re a ‘sapient’ species who need Vimes’ help, and the protection of the Law. Vimes’ Law.
Vimes, along with the nearest thing he can find to a copper in the district, uncover a slave operation rounding up and trading goblins to plantations overseas. With powerful and evil men ranged against him, Vimes must outwit them once again and bring justice to those who need it.
Some people may write off the Discworld books (indeed Pratchett’s books in general) as simply Fantasy books, but they are so much more. They’re social commentary wrapped in satire; part philosophy, part farce. That’s what makes them so great. Every book is a multi-layered gem that draws on numerous facets of modern society, softening sometimes biting insight with humour and they don’t shy away from tackling tough subjects.
As ever, the book is fast-paced, action-packed and filled with laughs. Vimes is a wonderful character and his sense of purpose guides you through the narrative, helped along by an endearing cast of support characters.
If I had one criticism, it would be the cameos by all of the Watch characters who have built up over the books, either through a desire to appease fans, or a degree of nostalgia. In fact, the whole book had a worrying feel of closure. As much as I don’t want them to end, there was the feeling of a a movie too far, like Indiana Jones coming back in the forth instalment.
It doesn’t detract from the story though, so perhaps we can forgive him. I haven’t read a bad Pratchett book for years and never a bad Guards book, they’re always awesome and Snuff won’t disappoint.