Ser Pratchett has been dealing with failing health for some time, and no where is it more apparent than this book. He has written a story that is not, in any sense, bad. This book is amusing, and it has a fantastic sense of pace that will entrance you until the end.
But it is still a sad thing.
The cast has changed.
The story is no longer as engaging.
It is with this book that we, the fans, are forced to admit that Sir Terry Pratchett is not going to get better.
But back to the book. In this story, Moist Von Lipvig, as master of the mint and post master (along with bank manager) has created a smooth operation. Which is perfect timing; in a far corner of the Sto Lat plains, an engineer called Mister Simnel has built the first train. Adn this invention changes everything. But far underground, the Grags refuse to accept the changing times, and hav3e resorted to terrorism in an attempt to stop what they think of as the end of true dwarves.
The story is quite well written, with many aspects that will grasp your attention and not let go. You will find yourself amused by this, reading it and loving the ride. Old hands, however, will realise that the sings of the author's health shine through. Vimes and vetinari, most notably, no longer act like themselves, leaving old fans dissapointed and confused as to what is going on. Sometimes, the story gets a bit lost and wanders for a while before getting back on track and becoming enjoyable again. The villans are not so much villans, as rather some nebulous force, an ideal that threatens to destroy everything in some vauge way until the very end with a climax with faceless goons.
The jokes are not clever at all, but they can still get a chuckle. Gone is the insight that populated older books, but it does not make the book unreadable with it's absence.
To put it plain, this book signals the end of an age, and is more bittersweet with what it signifies to old readers. New readers will like it, but it is not worth rereading. Read the older books of you can.