Feet of Clay
by Terry Pratchett
It’s murder in Discworld!- which ordinarily is no big deal. But what bothers Watch Commander Sir Sam Vimes is that the unusual deaths of three elderly Ankh-Morporkians do not bear the clean, efficient marks of the Assassins’ Guild. An apparent lack of any motive is also quite troubling. all Vimes has are some tracks of white clay and more of those bothersome “clue” things that only serve to muck up an investigation. The anger of a fearful populace is already being dangerously channeled toward the city’s small community of golems - the mindless, absurdly industrious creatures of baked clay who can occasionally be found toiling in the city’s factories. And certain highly placed personages are using the unrest as an excuse to resurrect a monarchy - which would be bad enough even if the “king” they were grooming wasn’t as empty-headed as your typical animated pottery.
Full disclosure - I’m a Pratchett fan. You’ll note this is a pattern with me. I find a series or an author that I really like and I spend a lot of time going through whatever’s available. Also, there are enough books in the Discworld series that I can pick up a new one when I happen to be at a bookstore.
Feet of Clay is witty and hilarious and shines a fantastically twisted light on the issues of racism, gender conformity, and slavery. The Watch are busy with a series of mysterious murders, Golem suicides, an ill-turn for the Patrician, and the unexpected inclinations of their newest dwarf. Nobby Nobbs gets a taste of aristocracy, Angua makes a new friend, and Sam Vimes is a cunning bastard.
That’s all well and good on its own, but woven in between Wee Mad Arthur’s antics and Captain Carrot’s unfailing good charm are important questions about whether Golems count as people or property, whether race can drive a wedge between friends, and whether long held traditions regarding dwarfculinity and the brand new procedures for forensic investigation will keep the newest member of the Watch from being taken seriously.
If you’re a fan of Pratchett’s, this book is a must-read. If you like satire, social commentary, and humour, all with a touch of careless frivolity, you should pick this one up. I had a blast with this adventure through the streets of Ankh-Morpork. I highly recommend it.