First Lines: The Fifth Elephant

The Fifth Elephant is the twelfth Discworld novel I read, and my first foray into The Watch series. (Due to it’s size, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld-series could seem daunting to the uninitiated. It was to me. I started with the first few in chronological order, which drove me to the brink of giving up. When I just started reading ’em in whatever order, things dropped into place.)

Of course, we all know that the Discworld is round like a pancake, and rests on the backs of four giant elephants that stand on the back of the great A’tuin, the world turtle, who swims through the endless universe. Some people—dwarfs, mostly—believe that there was a fifth elephant, that came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.

Sam Vimes, chief of the Ankh-Morpork police force, is send as ambassador to the country of Überwald, and gets tangled into a web of intrigue, vampires, werewolves and diplomacy. That he still has to get the hang of that last one, becomes evident by one fine bit of diplomacy that cracked me up:

Then you can tell this creature that if he uses that word again in the presence of myself or any of my staff there will be, as we diplomats say, repercussions. Wrap that up in diplomacy and give it to him, will you?

Which may not be that funny out of context, but it cracked me up. Which is a good thing, when you’re train is just passing Harderwijk early in the morning.

At the moment, I got over ten books waiting to be read. I’m fairly sure that I’ll return to the Discworld before I finished all of those.

Book read
Terry Pratchett — The Fifth Elephant, a Discworld Novel
First line
They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.