by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is a phenomenon unto himself. Never read a Discworld book? The closest comparison might be Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with its uniquely British sense of the absurd, and side-splitting, smart humor. Jingo is the 20th of Pratchett's Discworld novels, and the fourth to feature the City Guard of Ankh-Morpork. As Jingo begins, an island suddenly rises between Ankh-Morpork and Al-Khali, capital of Klatch. Both cities claim it. Lord Vetinari, the Patrician, has failed to convince the Ruling Council that force is a bad idea, despite reminding them that they have no army, and "I believe one of those is generally considered vital to the successful prosecution of a war." Samuel Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, has to find out who shot the Klatchian envoy, Prince Khufurah, and set fire to their embassy, before war breaks out.
Pratchett's characters are both sympathetic and outrageously entertaining, from Captain Carrot, who always finds the best in people and puts it to work playing football, to Sergeant Colon and his sidekick, Corporal Nobbs, who have "an ability to get out of their depth on a wet pavement." Then there is the mysterious D'reg, 71-hour Ahmed. What is his part in all this, and why 71 hours? Anyone who doesn't mind laughing themselves silly at the idiocy of people in general and governments in particular will enjoy Jingo. --Nona Vero
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