Ankh-Morpork Goes to War

Jingo (Discworld, #21) - Terry Pratchett

I have to admit that I'm quite surprised that I have now read 21 of the Discworld books. Okay, that actually isn't much of an effort where I'm concerned considering that for some inexplicable reason I ended ploughing through a large majority of the Xanth books, and also pretty much read every Forgotten Realms book (and a few Dragonlance books) as soon as they hit the shelves. Okay, after doing English Literature at university I must admit that my taste in books has changed quite a lot since then, however it is always good to read something that is not all that serious, and Discworld certainly fits the bill.


Mind you, it isn't as if the Discworld novels would fall into the category of mindless pulp since Pratchett does a really good job a satirising the modern world. Okay, the Simpsons also did that, but I have to admit that the Simpsons really started to get to me because, well, it was way too close to home, and in such circumstances the satire probably doesn't work as well. For instance there are a number of characters in the Simpsons (such as Reverend Lovejoy) that I simply could not stand namely because there are people that are quite like him. However Futurama worked a lot better, namely because it was set three thousand years in the future, and the harsh realities of our world were softened by the fact that the satire was set in an unfamiliar place. Such is also the case with Discworld.


Anyway Jingo is about going to war. Not any sort of war, but a war that is based on the pride of a nation. It isn't one of those wars were a power will invade simply because the region has something they want, but rather because a nation has been slighted by another nation (that they don't particularly like) and as such they need to do something to save face. In all honesty it's actually human nature – we do that in our individual lives. If somebody makes us look silly in front of all our peers the we automatically want to respond in kind. Some of us will simply reply with a classic comeback, while others of us, who are not capable of such a feat, will usually respond in anger.


Such is the case with Anhk-Morpork. A chunk of rock suddenly appears in the ocean halfway between them and the nation of Klatch (which seems to be the Middle East, though it sort of has a Turkish flavour to it – though for all we know it could simply be France – they don't have pubs, they have beer gardens). Neither nation manages to lay claim to it before the other, so the tensions begin to ratchet up. This comes to ahead when one of the princes of Klatch is shot in the foot during a parade, and suddenly both nations want to go to war. The problem is that Ankh-Morpork doesn't have an army – it's not good for business because if you attack somebody then they aren't going to want to buy anything off you. However they simply can't let Klatch have a chunk of rock because, well, they will lose face.


Once again he have the night watch, but when Ventinari steps down as ruler of Ankh-Morpork, and Vimes is given extended leave because he sort of has this habit of digging to deep and exposing the political machinations that are going on behind the scenes, they suddenly find themselves on a boat (two actually), with Ventinari's pet inventor Leonard of Quirm (guess who he is) on their way to Klatch to launch a pre-emptive strike (with pretty much no army).


Of course Ventinari does manage to get out of this mess because, well, he is the very definition of cunning. I would suggest that the definition of cunning in the dictionary would have a picture of him next to it, but unfortunately I think somebody beat him to it:



Oh, Nobby Nobbs also gets in touch with his feminine side, and develops a longing for a relationship (not that a suitable partner reveals herself). Mind you, this is the guy, despite the fact that he is the only one left in the nightwatch after everybody else resigns, is still passed over for promotion. You sort of feel sorry for him.