Continuing to follow the City Watch thread in Pratchett’s Discworld because I’ve enjoyed the characters and stories, this was another good one.
Ankh-Morpork is the largest and most powerful city on the main continent of Discworld, you might equate it with Rome in Europe. Across a wide ocean bay is the desert country of Klatch and its capital Al Khali, which you might think of as Cairo in Egypt. As the book opens, two groups of fishermen discover an island newly risen from the ocean centered between the two countries, one group from each country. Each fishing boat wants to claim the island of Leshp for their country, and with that small event, a war is launched. And as you can imagine, there’s plenty of silliness and satire in Pratchett’s handling of it.
Back in Ankh-Morpork, a visiting prince of Klatch barely survives an assassination attempt, just thwarted by City Watch Commander Samuel Vimes, who seems to find it was staged by one of their own men. This is the last straw for each city’s military types, and war is declared. Military leaders take over the Ankh-Morpork government and the citizens enthusiastically join up to go fight in an invasion of Klatch. The city watch is disbanded, but those loyal to Vimes form their own unit. Meanwhile, the Watch’s werewolf member Angua is captured by Klatchians and taken to Klatch. Vimes and his group set off to rescue her, commandeering a ship. Meanwhile, former Ankh-Morpork ruler Lord Veterinari and two Watch policemen are off on a secret mission in a new invention of Veterinari’s captive genius Leonard Quirm, a submarine. They discover some interesting things about the new island of Leshp, then continue on to Klatch. Soon, everyone from Ankh-Morpork in Klatch, where things continue to go wrong in various funny ways, and the so-called war is mostly groups wandering around in the desert and sniping at each other.
Good fun, though the Klatch sections drag a bit. Still a fine read and recommended.