Terry Pratchett is a member of a very small, select community of authors. Not the science fiction/fantasy community, which is full to bursting with talentless, unimaginative halfwits who manage to get published using a combination of good typing speed and a stone-age grasp of saleable genre archetypes. Pratchett couldn't be more different. His Discworld novels, of which this is the 19th, are thoughtful, funny, absorbing, action-packed and skillfully written. Feet Of Clay may have a swords-and-sorcery plot that pits the bumbling city watch against a murderous enchanted statue, but somehow it doesn't insult the reader's intelligence. The mystery involves a political scheme of some complexity; the cops of the city watch are surprisingly three-dimensional; and—perhaps most amazing for a book in this genre—there's intelligent wit and wordplay with a notable lack of punnery. It's very, very good, and it reaffirms Pratchett's status as an author who is arguably too damn good for his chosen field.

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