Number of pages: 285
I first read this book many years ago and wasn't too impressed by it; however, I decided to give it another go.
The story opens with a mysterious island rising up between the kingdoms of Ankh Morpork and Klatch, and both cities claim it is their land, resulting in the outbreak of a full-scale war. The book revolves mainly around Commander Vimes and the City Watch, who are once again attempting to solve a murder, and the kidnapping of a Klatchian prince.
For a while, I thought this wasn't particularly exciting and that it was too similar to previous City Watch books, but I couldn't have been more wrong as the story really picks up when the City Watch head to Klatch and get involved in the proceedings, with typically absurd results. This books is at times hilarious, mostly the jokes about clichés revolving around pirates (I loved the bit about the typical cartoon image of pirates swinging with cutlasses in their mouths). There is also a brilliant running joke involving Vimes' pocket organiser that consists of a demon in a box.
The story is mainly a satire, with some brilliant lines regarding the absurdities of war:
"What for? We're not at war with anyone. Hah! But we might go to war to keep some damn island that's only useful in case we have to go to war, right?"
"Aren't I supposed to be at war with you? Can't be murder if there's a war on. That's written down somewhere".
As usual too, there are some great moments involving the City Watch characters, mostly the endless bickering between Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs.
Overall, I felt that this book feels a bit slow to begin with, but it is worth sticking with as the second half is worth reading, making this one of the better City Watch novels.
Next book: Heads and Straights (Lucy Wadham)