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Cover art by Paul Kidby
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 1 October 2005
ISBN 0385608675
Pages 362
RRP £17.99
Main characters Commander Vimes, Sybil Vimes, Detritus, Sally von Humpeding, Carrot Ironfoundersson, Cheery Littlebottom, Angua von Überwald, Mr Shine
Series Watch Series
Annotations View
All data relates to the first UK edition.


THUD! Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago. But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see the battle fought again, right outside his office (and perhaps inside his own Watch House). With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him.


Relationships between the dwarf and troll communities of Ankh-Morpork have always been strained on the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley, the first great battle between the two races. This year the tension has been made worse due to a dwarf demagogue, Grag Hamcrusher. On the morning when the book begins, Captain Carrot brings news that the Grag has been murdered, apparently by a troll, yet the dwarfs are trying to keep the death secret from the watch.

Vimes visits the extensive dwarf mines beneath the city. There he meets a nervous dwarf called Helmclever; and Ardent, the interpreter for the Grags who dispense religious advice from the mine. Ardent explains that Hamcrusher is indeed dead and the Grags are planning to appoint a "smelter", a dwarf detective to discover the truth. Vimes convinces them to choose Captain Carrot, a human who was adopted by dwarfs. Meanwhile, Nobby Nobbs and Fred Colon begin investigating the theft of Methodia Rascal's giant painting of the Battle of Koom Valley.

While Vimes and Detritus visit Chrysoprase, Carrot brings Angua and a new vampire recruit Salacia "Sally" von Humpeding to investigate the crime scene and is met with a confusing group of clues. Hamcrusher must have been dead before he was hit with the troll club, but there is evidence that a troll must have been present. Meanwhile, dwarfs are gathering in Sator Square while trolls are gathering in Plaza of Broken Moons. The Watch and the Specials (including a conscripted inspector) gather between the gangs to stop a fight, though the job proves surprisingly easy as most of them become blind drunk.

Meanwhile, Angua and Sally discover four recently killed dwarfs in a disused mine tunnel. One of them scrawled a minesign symbol in blood on the back of a locked door. When Angua and Sally return to the Watch House after crawling through the underworld of the city, a mysterious troll called Mr. Shine brings Brick, a troll from the gutters of the city, to the care of Detritus. Shine reveals that the symbol means The Summoning Dark, the darkest and most dangerous of minesign symbols. It turns out that Brick fell into the mine by accident under the influence of drugs, and saw Hamcrusher's body being hit with a club by another dwarf. Vimes visits a hidden Thud club, where Mr. Shine reveals himself to be a diamond troll and the secret King of the Trolls. Carrot organizes city dwarfs to dig out the four dead bodies beneath the mine. It turns out that the Grags and their soldiers had already abandoned the mine. In a parting shot, the Grags send a suicide squad to attack Vimes's family at their own house.

A dwarf called Helmclever is brought back the Watch House, and over a game of Thud tells Vimes that the four miners were killed because they found a talking Cube, a magical device which can record and replay sound. The cube spoke with the voice of B'hrian Bloodaxe, the King who commanded the dwarfs at Koom Valley. When Hamcrusher heard the cube, it enraged him so much he tried to destroy the words (which the dwarfs consider a heinous crime). Fighting broke out and another Grag killed Hamcrusher with a mining hammer. Ardent tried to conceal the crime to prevent the Watch discovering the cube. The dwarfs were now planning to use Rascal's painting to search the valley to find where there are "more lies". Helmclever dies suddenly when the candles are momentarily extinguished. A young Grag Bashfull Bashfullsson explains that the Summoning Dark killed him; he was cursed by the Summoning Dark because he heard one of the four miners dying behind the door and did nothing in response. Unknown to Vimes, he harbours the Summoning Dark, having touched the same door during his visit to the mine.

Vimes deduces that Methodia Rascal (an insane artist who lived in fear of "the chicken") found the cube in Koom Valley, learned how to make it talk, but threw it away because he could not stop it playing the sounds of battle. Vines asks Mustrum Ridcully to help him travel as fast as possible to Koom Valley, bringing Sybil, his son, Willikins, Bashfullsson, Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Cheery, Angua, Sally and Detritus. Detritus insists on bringing Brick.

At the valley, with help from copies of Rascal's painting which Sybil made when she was young, Vimes searches the valley for the locatation where the cube was originally found. He eventually finds the stolen paining in the right spot, but then he falls into a sinkhole and disappears. However, the Summoning Dark purposefully brings him to a cave full of dwarfs. In a dreamy fit of rage, Vimes attacks the dwarfs, killing or scaring most of them off. The Summoning Dark directs him to kill the helpless old Grags, but his own internal watchman stops him from losing control and drives out the demonic entity from his mind. When Vimes regains consciousness, he meets the Low King, and they agree to activate the cube after Vimes figures out the special word to start it ("Awk!").

The cube reveals that the ancient dwarfs and trolls came to Koom Valley to make peace, but fighting broke out after they were caught in a mist and a storm. Some of the dwarfs and trolls were washed into a cave, together with the cube. They both recorded speeches on the cube and left one dwarf to try and bring it to the surface, while Bloodaxe and the Diamond King died playing Thud. At the end of the book, the cave is opened to the public with the hope that the two races can end their centuries of feuding. Back in Ankh-Morpork, Carrot tells Vetinari that the watch will expand with 60 new officers, and they have discovered an Axle in the mine under the city.


  • A recurring element is that every day at six o'clock, Vimes must return home and read Where's My Cow? to his son, even if it means charging through the city or shouting while fighting dwarfs.
  • The Black Ribboners and Vetinari force Vimes to accept a vampire in the Watch. There is tension between Sally and Angua, especially when they both go down into the mine with Carrot, Angua's boyfriend. Later, Vimes discovers that Sally is a spy for the Low King, but he does not accept her resignation and allows her to stay in the Watch.
  • Nobby Nobbs has a new girlfriend called Tawneee, a pole dancer so attractive that it turns out that no men in their right mind would dare ask her out. After she helps Angua and Sally as they find their way out of the tunnel, they invite her and Cheery for a night out minge drinking. At the end of the story, Nobby decides to let her down because she would be no good in the kitchen.
  • Vetinari sends an inspector A.E. Pessimal to check whether the Watch is spending money wisely. Pessimal annoys Vimes so much that he conscripts the white-collar worker into the Specials, where they stand for hours in the pouring rain, sandwiched between two gangs. When Vimes decides the game is up, he refuses to leave and shows unexpected bravery when he attacks a troll (Brick) with his fists and teeth. Vimes later accepts Pessimal into the Watch, giving him administration duties, and promising he will become a sergeant in a year.
  • Vimes has acquired another Dis-Organiser (a mark V), although this time, he is able to find some use for it.

Opening Lines

"The first thing Tak did, he wrote himself. The second thing Tak did, he wrote the Laws. The third thing Tak did, he wrote the World. The fourth thing Tak did, he wrote a cave. The fifth thing Tak did, he wrote a geode, an egg of stone. And in the twilight of the mouth of the cave the geode hatched and the brothers were born..." excerpt from Thud!

Major Characters

Minor Characters

Cameos and Mentions


Concepts and Ideas

Ankh-Morpork City Watch Warrant Card

As a part of a promo by bookseller Waterstones in the UK first editions of Thud! were bundled with an envelope labelled as from the Patrician, containing a Postcard depicting Koom Valley, a Waterstones promo slip, and an Ankh-Morpork City Watch Warrant Card which contained some rules and ordinances of the Watch and the city. These items were produced in conjunction with Bernard Pearson and around 10,000 were produced.


Harper/US cover
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US Cover
Promotional Pack
Paperback 2014
Collectors Library Edition
Paperback 2023

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