Cover image for Night watch : a novel of Discworld
Night watch : a novel of Discworld
Pratchett, Terry.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2002]

Physical Description:
338 pages ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.0 17.0 66783.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This morning, Commander Vimes of the City Watch had it all. He was a Duke. He was rich. He was respected. He had a silver cigar case. He was about to become a father.

This morning he thought longingly about the good old days.

Tonight, he's in them.

Flung back in time by a mysterious accident, Sam Vimes has to start all over again. He must get a new name and a job, and there's only one job he's good at: cop in the Watch. He must track down a brutal murderer. He must find his younger self and teach him everything he knows. He must whip the cowardly, despised Night Watch into a crack fighting force -- fast. Because Sam Vimes knows what's going to happen. He remembers it. He was there. It's part of history. And you can't change history . . .

But Sam is going to. He has no choice. Otherwise, a bloody revolution will start, and good men will die. Sam saw their names on old headstones just this morning -- but tonight they're young men who think they have a future. And rather than let them die, Sam will do anything -- turn traitor, burn buildings, take over a revolt, anything -- to snatch them from the jaws of history. He will do it even if victory will mean giving up the only future he knows.

For if he succeeds, he's got no wife, no child, no riches, no fame -- all that will simply vanish. But if he doesn't try, he wouldn't be Sam Vimes.

And so the battle is on. He knows how it's going to end; after all, he was there. His name is on one of those headstones. But that's just a minor detail . . .

Author Notes

Terry Pratchett was on born April 28, 1948 in Beaconsfield, United Kingdom. He left school at the age of 17 to work on his local paper, the Bucks Free Press. While with the Press, he took the National Council for the Training of Journalists proficiency class. He also worked for the Western Daily Press and the Bath Chronicle. He produced a series of cartoons for the monthly journal, Psychic Researcher, describing the goings-on at the government's fictional paranormal research establishment, Warlock Hall. In 1980, he was appointed publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board with responsibility for three nuclear power stations.

His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971. His first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. He became a full-time author in 1987. He wrote more than 70 books during his lifetime including The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Truckers, Diggers, Wings, Dodger, Raising Steam, Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales, and The Shephard's Crown. He was diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2007. He was knighted for services to literature in 2009 and received the World Fantasy award for life achievement in 2010. He died on March 12, 2015 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Sam Vimes is living the good life. He's a duke, his lady wife is about to give birth to their first child, and he is no longer just a shoddy watch commander. Even so, he can'st stop thinking about the good old days. He finds himself missing going on patrol, reading the streets, being part of the Watch rather than a nobleman who has to see the big picture. Suddenly, caught by a surge of occult energy, Vimes is back in the good old days. Somehow, they are less good than he remembered. And then he discovers he is responsible for the future: if he doesn't make history turn out the way he remembers it, he may never get home again. Quite aside from that predicament, a criminal mastermind, also whisked up by the occult energy, is making Vimes' future-building job significantly harder, and only Vimes knows what the fiend is capable of. On the positive side, Vimes does get to just be a copper again, which he rather enjoys. Discworld remains a place of punning, entertaining footnotes, and farce, in which Ankh-Morpork is still a great city. This time, though, the metropolis has a sense of its history and of the Right Thing to Do, which makes for something of a departure from the norm for many of the characters longtime Discworld readers know and love. Still, Pratchett has really developed the characters of the Watch, at least, since their early days in Guards! Guards! (1989), and it shows! --Regina Schroeder

Publisher's Weekly Review

British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series (The Last Hero, etc.). Pragmatic Sam Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, can't complain. He has a title, his wife is due to give birth to their first child any moment and he hasn't had to pound a beat in ages but that doesn't stop him from missing certain bits of his old life. Thank goodness there's work to be done. Vimes manages to corner a murderer, Carcer, on the library dome at Unseen University during a tremendous storm, only to be zapped back in time 30 years, to an Ankh-Morpork where the Watch is a joke, the ruling Patrician mad and the city on the verge of rebellion. Three decades earlier, a man named John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught young Sam Vimes how to be a good cop before dying in that rebellion. Unfortunately, in this version of the past, Carcer has killed Keel. The only way Vimes can hope to return home and ensure he has a future to return home to is to take on Keel's role. The author lightens Vimes's decidedly dark situation with glimpses into the origins of several of the more unique denizens of Ankh-Morpork. One comes away, as always, with the feeling that if Ankh-Morpork isn't a real place, it bloody well ought to be. (Nov. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A freak accident hurls Commander Sam Vines back into his own past, where he must assume a new identity and watch his younger self struggle to rise in the ranks of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork while tracking down a dangerous criminal and finding a way to return to his own time. The 28th addition to Pratchett's "Discworld" series explores time travel and historical inevitability with cleverness and humor. The author's talent for comedy does not falter as he continues to set the standard for comic fantasy. A good choice, particularly where the series is popular. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Samuel Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, starts the morning fishing a would-be assassin out of his cesspool and writing a letter to the parents of a watch-dwarf murdered by Carcer, a homicidal maniac. By the end of the day, thanks to a freak, magical accident, he is transported back more than 30 years in the city's less-than-glorious past. Unfortunately, Carcer is taken with him. Revolution is brewing and though Vimes and Carcer know what is supposed to happen, both are determined to change it. Readers familiar with the characters from other "Discworld" tales will be fascinated by the glimpse into their pasts. Tension is generated as Vimes, a good man in a corrupt world, struggles to find the right path through the morass of history. He has to stop Carcer, but success in the past may mean losses in the future. In addition, Vimes is in charge of training a new recruit, young lance constable Vimes, and must teach himself to be a good copper, so the Watch as it is known can exist. The stakes are high, yet Pratchett injects humor into the mix. This gripping novel is essential for fans of the series, and is also recommended for those who haven't had the pleasure of traveling there yet.-Susan Salpini, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it. Then he put his jacket on and strolled out into the wonderful late spring morning. Birds sang in the trees, bees buzzed in the blossom. The sky was hazy, though, and thunderheads on the horizon threatened rain later. But, for now, the air was hot and heavy. And, in the old cesspit behind the gardener's shed, a young man was treading water. Well . . . treading, anyway. Vimes stood back a little way and lit a cigar. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to employ a naked flame any nearer to the pit. The fall from the shed roof had broken the crust. 'Good morning!' he said cheerfully. 'Good morning, your grace,' said the industrious treadler. The voice was higher pitched than Vimes expected and he realized that, most unusually, the young man in the pit was in fact a young woman. It wasn't entirely unexpected - the Assassins' Guild was aware that women were at least equal to their brothers when it came to inventive killing - but it nevertheless changed the situation somewhat. 'I don't believe we've met?' said Vimes. 'Although I see you know who I am. You are . . .?' 'Wiggs, sir,' said the swimmer. 'Jocasta Wiggs. Honoured to meet you, your grace.' 'Wiggs, eh?' said Vimes. 'Famous family in the Guild' "Sir" will do, by the way. I think I once broke your father's leg?' 'Yes, sir. He asked to be remembered to you,' said Jocasta. 'You're a bit young to be sent on this contract, aren't you?' said Vimes. 'Not a contract, sir,' said Jocasta, still paddling. 'Come now, Miss Wiggs. The price on my head is at least-' 'The Guild council put it in abeyance, sir,' said the dogged swimmer. 'You're off the register. They're not accepting contracts on you at present.' 'Good grief, why not?' 'Couldn't say, sir,' said Miss Wiggs. Her patient struggles had brought her to the edge of the pit, and now she was finding that the brickwork was in very good repair, quite slippery and offered no handholds. Vimes knew this, because he'd spent several hours one afternoon carefully arranging that this should be so. 'So why were you sent, then?' 'Miss Band sent me as an exercise,' said Jocasta. 'I say, these bricks really are jolly tricky, aren't they?' 'Yes,' said Vimes, 'they are. Have you been rude to Miss Band lately? Upset her in any way?' 'Oh, no, your grace. But she did say I was getting over-confident, and would benefit from some advanced field work.' 'Ah. I see.' Vimes tried to recall Miss Alice Band, one of the Assassins' Guild's stricter teachers. She was, he'd heard, very hot on practical lessons. 'So . . . she sent you to kill me, then?' he said. 'No, sir! It's an exercise! I don't even have any crossbow bolts! I just had to find a spot where I could get you in my sights and then report back!' 'She'd believe you?' 'Of course, sir,' said Jocasta, looking rather hurt. 'Guild honour, sir.' Vimes took a deep breath. 'You see, Miss Wiggs, quite a few of your chums have tried to kill me at home in recent years. As you might expect, I take a dim view of this.' 'Easy to see why, sir,' said Jocasta, in the voice of one who knows that their only hope of escaping from their present predicament is reliant on the goodwill of another person who has no pressing reason to have any. 'And so you'd be amazed at the booby traps there are around the place,' Vimes went on. 'Some of them are pretty cunning, even if I say it myself.' 'I certainly never expected the tiles on the shed to shift like that, sir.' 'They're on greased rails,' said Vimes. 'Well done, sir!' 'And quite a few of the traps drop you into something deadly,' said Vimes. 'Lucky for me that I fell into this one, eh, sir?' 'Oh, that one's deadly too,' said Vimes. ' Eventually deadly.' He sighed. He really wanted to discourage this sort of thing but . . . they'd put him off the register? It wasn't that he'd liked being shot at by hooded figures in the temporary employ of his many and varied enemies, but he'd always looked at it as some kind of vote of confidence. It showed that he was annoying the rich and arrogant people who ought to be annoyed. Besides, the Assassins' Guild was easy to outwit. They had strict rules, which they followed quite honourably, and this was fine by Vimes, who, in certain practical areas, had no rules whatsoever. Off the register, eh? The only other person not on it any more, it was rumoured, was Lord Vetinari, the Patrician. The Assassins understood the political game in the city better than anyone, and if they took you off the register it was because they felt your departure would not only spoil the game but also smash the board . . . 'I'd be jolly grateful if you could pull me out, sir,' said Jocasta. 'What? Oh, yes. Sorry, got clean clothes on,' said Vimes. 'But when I get back to the house I'll tell the butler to come down here with a ladder. How about that?' 'Thank you very much, sir. Nice to have met you, sir.' Vimes strolled back to the house. Off the register? Was he allowed to appeal? Perhaps they thought- The scent rolled over him. He looked up. Overhead, a lilac tree was in bloom. He stared. Damn! Damn! Damn! Every year he forgot . Well, no. He never forgot. He just put the memories away, like old silverware that you didn't want to tarnish. And every year they came back, sharp and sparkling, and stabbed him in the heart. And today, of all days . . . He reached up, and his hand trembled as he grasped a bloom and gently broke the stem. He sniffed at it. He stood for a moment, staring at nothing. And then he carried the sprig of lilac carefully back up to his dressing room. Willikins had prepared the official uniform for today. Sam Vimes stared at it blankly, and then remembered. Watch Committee. Right. The battered old breastplate wouldn't do, would it . . . Not for His Grace the Duke of Ankh, Commander of the City Watch, Sir Samuel Vimes. Lord Vetinari had been very definite about that, blast it. Blast it all the more because, unfortunately, Sam Vimes could see the point. He hated the official uniform, but he represented a bit more than just himself these days. Sam Vimes had been able to turn up for meetings with grubby armour, and even Sir Samuel Vimes could generally contrive to find a way to stay in street uniform at all times, but a Duke . . . well, a Duke needed a bit of polish. A Duke couldn't have the arse hanging out of his trousers when meeting foreign diplomats. Actually, even plain old Sam Vimes never had the arse hanging out of his trousers, either, but no one would have actually started a war if he had. Excerpted from Night Watch by Terry Pratchett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.