The Fifth Elephant


The Fifth Elephant

infobox Discworld|id=24th novel – 6th City Watch story
characters=Samuel Vimes Ankh-Morpork City Watch
locations=Überwald
motifs=Diplomacy, Conspiracies, Vampires, Werewolves, Ship of Theseus
year=1999
publisher= Doubleday
ISBNH=ISBN 0-385-40995-8
ISBNP=ISBN 0-552-14616-1
awards=
notes=Came 153rd in the Big Read.

"The Fifth Elephant" is the 24th "Discworld" novel by Terry Pratchett. It introduces the clacks, a long-distance semaphore system.

Plot summary

Samuel Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and Duke of Ankh, thought that things were bad enough when he was forced to go to Überwald, a largely wild territory, on a diplomatic mission. That was before he found himself entangled in a plot to spark the dwarf equivalent of a holy war, not to mention running in the frozen wastelands of Überwald with werewolves on his trail.

The plot concerns the appointment of a new Low King of the dwarfs. It is a controversial choice and the cause of a rift in the dwarf community. Lord Vetinari sends Vimes as an ambassador along with Detritus and Corporal Littlebottom; the idea being trolls and dwarfs are ethnic majorities in Überwald, where the Low King resides. Littlebottom is not a typical dwarf, as she displays being female and even wears a dress, which is highly offensive to conservative dwarf society. Accompanying them as both guard and spy is Inigo Skimmer, a scholarship boy from the Assassins Guild.

Once in Überwald Vimes finds his relationships with dwarfs, vampires and werewolves very different from the ones he experiences back home. He also finds the 'Scone of Stone' (a large piece of dwarf bread the Low King must be crowned on) has been stolen. Perhaps there is a link to the recent theft of a replica of the Scone in Ankh-Morpork, and the murder of a manufacturer of prophylactics in that city. Vimes must use his detective skills to solve the mystery of the Scone, while trying to stay alive. Having Lady Sybil with him is an education for both of them. Sybil sees the Sam Vimes who inhabits a world of criminals and still comes home with a (relatively) clean soul and Sam sees that Sybil is resourceful in the face of danger. After some failed attempts, Sybil finally manages to tell her husband that he's going to be a father.

A sub-plot involves Carrot Ironfoundersson and Gaspode going in search of Carrot's werewolf girlfriend Angua. The simultaneous absence of both Vimes and Carrot from the city watch requires one of the existing watchmen to be promoted. Sergeant Fred Colon is the senior officer, and so is made Acting Captain. Colon is not comfortable being a leader, and deals with the position very badly, becoming excessively strict and paranoid as the Watch crumbles around him.

The novel gives more detail on werewolf society, including the concept of "yennorks", werewolves who cannot shapeshift, and are permanently in human or animal form. It also explores the society of dwarfs on the Disc, introducing the 'drudak'ak' (which roughly translates as "they who do not get out in the fresh air much"), conservative dwarfs who are the keepers and interpreters of dwarf law.

Translations

*Петият слон ("Pětijat Slon")(Bulgarian)
*"Pátý elefant" (Czech)
*"De vijfde olifant" (Dutch)
*"Viies elevant" (Estonian)
*"Viides elefantti" (Finnish)
*"Le Cinquième Éléphant" (French)
*"Der fünfte Elefant" (German)
*"Piąty Elefant" (Polish) (The word Elefant does not function in the literary Polish - it is actually taken from the Silesian dialect)
*Пятый элефант (Russian), 2007
*"Den femte elefanten" (Swedish)

External links

* [http://www.lspace.org/books/apf/the-fifth-elephant.html Annotations for The Fifth Elephant]
* [http://www.lspace.org/books/pqf/the-fifth-elephant.html Quotes from The Fifth Elephant]
* [http://www.lspace.org/books/synopses/the-fifth-elephant.html Synopsis of The Fifth Elephant]

! colspan="3" | Reading order guide
###@@@KEYEND@@@###


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Fifth Discipline — Infobox Book name = The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization title orig = translator = image caption = author = Peter Senge illustrator = cover artist = country = United States language = English series = subject =… …   Wikipedia

  • Order of the White Elephant — This article is about the Thai chivalric order. For the Danish chivalric order, see Order of the Elephant. Knight Commander (Second Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant ทวีติยาภรณ์ช้างเผือก The Most Exalted Order of the White… …   Wikipedia

  • The Cherry Orchard — (Вишнëвый сад or Vishniovy sad in Russian) is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov s last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it… …   Wikipedia

  • The Discworld Companion —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents — Terry Pratchett The Discworld series 28th novel – 6th individual story Outline …   Wikipedia

  • The Colour of Magic — This article is about the book. For the TV film, see The Colour of Magic (TV film). Terry Pratchett The Discworld series 1st novel – 1st Rincewind story Outline Characters …   Wikipedia

  • The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch — Terry Pratchett The Discworld series 3rd science book Outline Characters Unseen University Staff …   Wikipedia

  • The Amazing Race 14 — Season run February 15, 2009 – May 10, 2009 Filming dates October 31, 2008[1] – November 21, 2008 No. of episodes 12[2] Winning team …   Wikipedia

  • The Borderland of Sol — is an English language science fiction novelette written in 1975 by Larry Niven. It is the fifth in the Known Space series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The story was originally published in Analog , January 1975, printed in the… …   Wikipedia

  • The Collected Jorkens — Author Lord Dunsany Illustrator Sidney Sime Genre Fantasy fiction Publisher Night Shade Books (US) The Collected Jorkens is a three volume omnibus collection of fantasy sh …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.