The sudden appearance of the lost island of Lesh triggers diplomatic tensions between the Ankh Morporkians and their neighbours from Klatsch and when diplomacy seems to fail spectacularly, the time has come to go to war.

In Jingo, Pratchett takes full advantage of the story to aim his arrows on warfare and the bullshit reasons wars are started in the first place, all set against another mystery for the Guards to solve.

Sadly Angua takes a bit of a backseat thoughout this one, but Pratchett makes up for it by having Cpl. Nobs and Sgt. Colon take on a secret mission for the Patrician. Luckily we can still count on the usual suspects to keep us entertained, like Detritus and the ever-stoic Cmdr Vimes:

“Aagragaah,” said Detritus, mournfully. “Don’t mind me, just don’t spit it on my boot,” said Vimes. “It mean—” Detritus waved a huge hand, “like…dem things, what only comes in…” he paused and looked at his fingers, while his lips moved “…fours. Aagragaah. It mean lit’rally der time when you see dem little pebbles and you jus’ know dere’s gonna be a great big landslide on toppa you and it already too late to run. Dat moment, dat’s aagragaah.”

This is 10 times better in the audiobook

Or the Patrician talking about diplomacy:

“We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too,” said Lord Vetinari. “Of course, we have the art of diplomacy. It is amazing what you can do with the right words.” “Unfortunately, the right words are more readily listened to if you also have a sharp stick,” said Lord Downey.

or when discussing taxes:

“We could certainly do with one,” said Lord Vetinari. “We need the money. I was about to say that we cannot afford mercenaries.” “How can this be?” said Lord Downey. “Don’t we pay our taxes?” “Ah, I thought we might come to that,” said Lord Vetinari. He raised his hand and, on cue again, his clerk placed a piece of paper in it. “Let me see now…ah yes. Guild of Assassins…Gross earnings in the last year: AM$13,207,048. Taxes paid in the last year: forty-seven dollars, twenty-two pence and what on examination turned out to be a Hershebian half-dong, worth one-eighth of a penny.” “That’s all perfectly legal! The Guild of Accountants—” “Ah yes. Guild of Accountants: gross earnings AM$7,999,011. Taxes paid: nil. But, ah yes, I see they applied for a rebate of AM$200,000.” “And what we received, I may say, included a Hershebian half-dong,” said Mr. Frostrip of the Guild of Accountants. “What goes around comes around,” said Vetinari calmly.

“Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo.”

“Are you telling us that Ankh-Morpork is bankrupt?” said Downey. “Of course. While, at the same time, full of rich people

“And you have allowed this wholesale tax avoidance?” said Lord Selachii. “Oh, the taxes haven’t been avoided,” said Lord Vetinari. “Or even evaded. They just haven’t been paid.”

All in all, good old fun. Not the best novel in the series, but still entertainment gold.

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