Night Watch by Terry Pratchett is hands down, one of the most amazing fantasy books I have ever read, and I frequently revisit it. We (my partner and I) listen to Terry Pratchett audio books when we travel, before we go to sleep, and Night Watch has to be one of the top books we both enjoy, and to be honest, it’s one of the darkest and most intense books (for me) in the whole of Discworld.
Sir Terry’s Legacy
It’s taken me this long to write about my love of Terry Pratchett books, because I broke down and cried when the news came in that he’d died. Myself and a barrista in Starbucks were crying our eyes out, and I was listening to Night Watch as I’d walked up to the counter. It was a touching moment. Terry Pratchett’s books were (mostly) funny, multi-layered with jokes and hints, and best of all, the stories are *still* fresh. He lives on, on many servers, because as it’s said in Going Postal (another great book), no man is dead while his name still lives.
But why Night Watch?
Well, the first thing is this image. The top is the cover for Night Watch, while the second is Rembrant’s painting of ‘the Night Watch’ (which isn’t it’s actual name). The geek in me loves this, it’s such an amazing homage, and says so much about the widespread enjoyment the book brings, as well as the callbacks to the art that I love. So that sold it straight away for me. It was also the first book I bought for my now fiancee, in paperback, in 2004.
I personally read it in 2003, about a year after it was released. It was an amazingly different Terry Pratchett books – as I’ve mentioned, it’s very dark, but there are some really brilliant passages in it. With the majority of the jokes stripped away, you really got to see the inner workings of Sam Vimes, his eponymous policeman. And that darkness and better understanding of Sam Vimes is both tender and shows the nuance that Pratchett employs when writing. Removing Sam from his familiar time, and sending him back, to before things were ‘fixed’ and better also gives him a chance to see how grim and grubby things were before Vetenari.
If you’re interested in fantasy, and good books, I have to deeply recommend all of Pratchett’s work, though maybe skip the first couple. They’re all mostly standalone, though there are interlinked jokes, characters, and a timeline. And while Night Watch wasn’t his last book, it’s one of my favorite, along with all the others that Sam Vimes appears in. Starting with Guards Guards, all the way through to Raising Steam, Night Watch has to be the standout jewel in his library, and he’s a writer that’s well worth getting into. And of course, Stephen Briggs and Nigel Planer narrated the books *brilliantly* on Audible.