Sam Vimes can't tell what kind of day he's having. One moment he's fighting a ruthless murderer on top of the library of the Unseen University. The next, he's thrown back in time.
He meets his younger self, and sees a lot of people who, last time he saw them, were, well, older. To top it all off, he's been mistaken for his former commander, the man who taught him all about being a good Watchman. But the city's on the brink of revolt, there's a curfew, the police are corrupt, and that killer he was after in the future is with him here in the past, which is now the present...sort of. Now all Vimes has to do is figure out how to get back homebut first he has to change the outcome of a bloody revolution.
There's a problem, though: if he wins, he's got no wife, no child, no future...
British author Pratchett's storytelling, a clever blend of Monty Pythonesque humor and Big Questions about morality and the workings of the universe, is in top form in his 28th novel in the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series (The Last Hero, etc.). Pragmatic Sam Vimes, Commander of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, can't complain. He has a title, his wife is due to give birth to their first child any moment and he hasn't had to pound a beat in ages but that doesn't stop him from missing certain bits of his old life. Thank goodness there's work to be done. Vimes manages to corner a murderer, Carcer, on the library dome at Unseen University during a tremendous storm, only to be zapped back in time 30 years, to an Ankh-Morpork where the Watch is a joke, the ruling Patrician mad and the city on the verge of rebellion. Three decades earlier, a man named John Keel took over the Night Watch and taught young Sam Vimes how to be a good cop before dying in that rebellion. Unfortunately, in this version of the past, Carcer has killed Keel. The only way Vimes can hope to return home and ensure he has a future to return home to is to take on Keel's role. The author lightens Vimes's decidedly dark situation with glimpses into the origins of several of the more unique denizens of Ankh-Morpork. One comes away, as always, with the feeling that if Ankh-Morpork isn't a real place, it bloody well ought to be. (Nov. 12) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.