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Thud a Discworld Novell (Anglais) Relié – 2005
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Sa vocation fut précoce : il publia sa première nouvelle en 1963 et son premier roman en 1971. D'emblée, il s'affirma comme un grand parodiste : La Face obscure du soleil (1976) tourne en dérision L'Univers connu de Larry Niven ; Strata (1981) ridiculise une fois de plus la hard S.-F. en partant de l'idée que la Terre est effectivement plate.
Mais le grand tournant est pris en 1983. Pratchett publia alors le premier roman de la série du Disque-Monde, brillant pastiche héroï-comique de Tolkien et de ses imitateurs.
Traduites dans plus de trente langues, Les Annales du Disque-Monde ont également donné lieu à nombre de produits dérivés ainsi qu'à des adaptations télévisées.
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In Thud!, the simmering tensions between dwarfs and trolls begins to spill over and Vimes is charged with preventing an all out war. In a bizarre twist, at least to longterm readers, the romantic thread of the novel is not between Carrot and Angua but instead involves the least likely candidate, Nobby Nobbs . Vimes is once again at the center of the action and continues to be one of the most interesting and complex characters in the series.
As with most of the recent Discworld novels, Terry Pratchett takes a few satirical jabs at elements of our society. In this case, fundamentalism is one of the prime targets. Pratchett's depiction of the deep down dwarfs and their treatment by surface dwarfs is very cleverly put together.
Overall, one of the novel's strongest points is the exploration of the dwarf and troll societies and the struggle between them. Separately, Angua must also struggle when she is teamed up by the first vampire member of the watch and her prejudices and inferiority complex get the better of her. Of course, comedy is a major part of all the Discworld books and once again Mr. Pratchett does not disappoint.
On an interesting note, Thud!, which refers to a board game played with dwarfs against trolls, was converted into a real game which can be bought and which has received good reviews so far. Also, the children's book which Vimes reads to his son thoughout the novel will be released next month.
Finally, for those who have not read any other Discworld novels before, this is not the book to start with. There are numerous in-jokes and the large cast can be overwhelming. Start with some of the earlier Watch novels that provide more background.
That is just about the scenario found in "THUD", Terry Pratchett's latest roller coaster ride through Discworld. The origin and outcome of the ancient Battle of Koom Valley between the Trolls and Dwarves has been obscured and the subject of much debate; but, the lingering and long-lasting hatred between them means they are always one spark away from renewed battle.
Grag Hamcrusher is what you might call a Dwarf extremist. Emerging from the depths he rails against those dwarves who have risen close to the surface. He intimates Dwarf residents of Ankh-Morpork who have made accommodations to a life lived above ground. Hamcrusher is a zealot who would like nothing better than to renew a holy war against the hated Trolls. As Thud opens Hamcrusher has just been murdered, thud "being the sound the heavy club made as it connected with the head". The initial evidence, a troll club found near the apparent murder scene, seems destined to bring their historic enmity to a boil. It is up to Commander Vimes and the Watch to find out who killed Hamcrusher and try to avoid a war that could destroy Ankh-Morpork.
The Patrician, not surprisingly, has complicated matters for Vimes. Bowing to pressure to increase the diversity of the Watch, Vimes is obligated to hire his first vampire, a very young, very attractive lady named Sally. This serves to increase the tension in the Watch most notably with Angua, the Watch's werewolf. Sparks fly and the claws are drawn as Angua senses that Sally is more than a bit interested in Captain Carrot. The Patrician has also seen fit to bring in a pencil pushing bureaucrat to audit the Watch's operations. This all serves to make Commander Vimes' own emotional fuse as short as the one keyed to the Trolls and Dwarves.
It is never a good idea to reveal too much of the plot in a review. This is particularly the case for the Discworld books where Pratchett has twists and turns on every page. Needless to say, events race from pillar to post. The furtive nature of the Dwarves, whose emotions are as submerged as the Dwarves themselves and the rather stoic nature of the Trolls (with the exception of Shine who appears to be one droll troll) has Vimes feeling as if he is trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without any visual image of the puzzle he is trying to solve.
Two elements of Thud put Thud for me in the highest rank of Discworld books. First, we are given very full, textured look at Commander Vimes. The reader is exposed to the growing disconnect between the controlled, outward demeanor and his emotionally charged interior that seem to grow increasingly more uncontrolled as the plot develops. It is both compelling and more than a bit scary. It brought Vimes to life in a very realistic way. Second, I thought the ending to Thud was one of Pratchett's best conclusions. Although I am never happy to see a Discworld book end, this ending was so well done (in my opinion only) that it almost makes up for the fact that it will be another twelve months or so before the next Discworld is published.
Thud is a great addition to the Discworld series.
The Discworld has always included dwarves and trolls as part of its inhabitants, yet in some of the earlier Discworld books, one would hardly recognize those races as they appear in the most recent city watch books. The City Watch books, particularly, MEN AT ARMS, FEET OF CLAY and THE FIFTH ELEPHANT have led readers away from the simple stereotypes Pratchett set down in the earliest books. These Discworld stories have added depth, understanding and complexity to these two races. THUD! takes that exploration and understanding even further by looking at the history of Koom Valley with new eyes, and a new Discworld novel. Of course, Pratchett never just tells a story, as any veteran readers will know. Pratchett is as much a writer of satire, an observer of the human condition around him. And the stories he writes have many echoes in the world around us. THUD! creates echoes many readers will recognize: ancient enmities, racial intolerance, old battles revisited, and the desire of a father to spend time with his son.
I haven't met a Discworld book that I don't like. Pratchett is one of the rare authors I've come across who is consistently a good read. I can't give this book less than 5 stars. That being said, this book was not Pratchett's absolute best. There was some sense that the opening chapters were a bit less streamlined, too much going on. But my biggest issue was with the character of Sally, the vampire. Pratchett spends less time on her than he usually does on setting up a new character. The kind of care he spent introducing previous Watch characters, such as Angua and Cheery just isn't as evident here. While the vampire girl is a part of the plot, her own story doesn't become realized here, and the conflict between Angua and Sally seems to be only touched on, rather than really explored. This is also not the best book for a new reader to cut their Discworld teeth on. Many of the established characters are only given a cameo appearance before we move on to the real story.
That said, the "real story" is very good indeed. The payoff is worth it. And like any Discworld novel, I can't really go into the inner workings of the story itself without revealing too much. You're just going to have to read it for yourselves. If you're new to Terry Pratchett, or the Discworld series, I suggest you backtrack before reading this one and begin with GUARDS! GUARDS! the first book that features the city Watch. While these books are not a full-fledged series and can be read independently of one another, it's still helpful to have a sense of how the characters and settings were built up in earlier stories. If you are a devoted Pratchett fan, you already know the Discworld series, but you might want to check out WHERE'S MY COW? the picture book that Commander Vimes reads to his son in THUD!. I've ordered my own copy and can't wait for it to arrive. The only other downside of THUD! I know of is that it ended, and now I'm stuck waiting for Pratchett to hurry up and write something else.
Happy Reading! ^_^ Shanshad
TYPOS. Crikey, Harper Collins, Word puts all those little red and green lines under the mistakes so that you can FIX THEM.
This is the first Discworld book where there has been any sort of real focus on trolls and troll culture. As Detritus's biggest fangirl, I was much with the glee. I loved the "Two Brothers" and "Diamond" passages on the first few pages--they're the kinds of things that keep Discworld from turning into something like Xanth.
I can't wait to read WHERE'S MY COW? I want to know what comes after the Hippopotomus.
Sybil is awesome. Not that she hasn't always been awesome. She's just especially awesome here.
I am beginning to get the impression that the Vimes-Ramkin family butler, Willikins, is on of Pratchett's new favorites. He is one of the major peripheral characters in this book, building on the role he's taken in JINGO and NIGHT WATCH.
Yes, Vimes does hire a vampire. A vampire named Sally. I didn't really like Sally; shes like one of those characters that appears during the middle of your favorite TV shows and steals the spotlight. Like Seven-Of-Nine. Quite a lot like Seven, actually.
Vimes's new Dis-Organizer is a Gooseberry(tm) with an iHUM feature that lets him play 1,000 of his favorite songs. Pratchett kills me.
Was glad to see Death here. His absence over the last few books has been worrying.
Last thought: a big part of this story involves the mystery of a secret hidden in a painting, all revolving around a book called The Koom Valley Codex. There are codes and mysteries and shadowy orders dedicated to keeping the secret from seeing daylight. This is all so, so much more gripping than THE DAVINCI CODE.
And as an added treat, readers see another fine cameo performance by Death.
Thud! is the best kind of reading- interesting, laugh-out-loud funny, and meaningful. Pratchett is a master of satire, and he conveys his message with a light touch- laugh at the fact that the situation is so ridiculous, and then set about fixing it. Pratchett fans will enjoy this latest offering, as will any fan of political satire. Think The Daily Show meets Douglas Adams, and you have Terry Pratchett.