Book:Men at Arms

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Men at Arms
Cover art by Josh Kirby
Publisher Victor Gollancz
Publication date 1993
ISBN 0552140287
Pages 288
Main characters Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Havelock Vetinari, Edward d'Eath
Series Watch Series
Annotations View
Notes Book #15
All data relates to the first UK edition.


"Be a MAN in the City Watch! The City watch needs MEN!"

But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman ... most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).

And they need all the help they can get. Because there's evil in the air and murder afoot and something very nasty in the streets.

It'd help if it could all be sorted out by noon, because that's when Captain Vimes is officially retiring, handing in his badge and getting married.

And since this is Ankh-Morpork, noon promises to be not just high, but stinking.


Captain Samuel Vimes is forced by Lord Vetinari to take on a group of new recruits for the purposes of ensuring diversity - a dwarf called Cuddy, a werewolf called Angua and a troll called Detritus. Angua becomes involved in a romantic relationship with Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson, but he does not react well to discovering that she is a werewolf. There has recently been a string of mysterious murders in the city that appear to be connected. Vetinari bans Vimes from investigating the murders in a successful attempt to provoke him into doing so.

The murders have been committed by a young assassin called Edward d'Eath. After researching the city's history and discovering that Carrot is the rightful heir of the throne of Ankh Morpork, he developed an obsessive desire to overthrow Vetinari and restore the monarchy. He committed the murders with the "gonne", the Disc's first and only hand-held firearm, a dangerous invention of Leonard of Quirm that d'Eath stole from the Assassins' Guild. The gonne appears to have a demonic power that tempts people into using it. When d'Eath explains his plan to Dr. Cruces, the head of the Assassins' Guild, Cruces kills him and decides to carry out the plan himself.

The Night Watch intervene to stop Cruces from killing Vetinari, but Cuddy and Angua are both killed in the struggle. Vimes and Carrot then confront Cruces, who reveals to Carrot that he is the rightful ruler of the city. Vimes seizes the gonne from Cruces and finds himself tempted to use the weapon, but Carrot stops him and disables it. Carrot is immune to being tempted by the gonne, which he believes is because he was raised as a dwarf and trained not to listen to tools. He kills Cruces with his sword and buries the remains of the gonne in Cuddy's coffin. Because a werewolf can only be killed with silver, Angua wakes up and recovers the following night.

Vimes holds his wedding with Sybil Ramkin. Vetinari fears that Carrot will use his status as the rightful ruler of Ankh Morpork to blackmail him. When he arrives, Carrot instead presents the Patrician with a plan to reform policing in the city by merging the Day Watch and the Night Watch into a new, modern and effective police force, with more funding and better working conditions. Vetinari agrees; Carrot is promoted to the rank of Captain, while Vimes is promoted to the newly-restored post of Commander of the Watch.


The front cover features (from left to right) Cuddy, Detritus, Angua, Carrot, Nobby and Colon. Illustrator Josh Kirby neglected to give Cuddy the dwarf a beard. At the bottom right there is a dog, presumably Gaspode.


Main Characters

Minor Characters

Cameos and Mentions


Things and Concepts


When he and Carrot have chased down and arrested Dr Cruces, Vimes ineffectually fights the blandishments of the Gonne as it insists that he must kill Cruces and take the power to himself. Cruces, remember, has just seemingly killed Angua: the natural tendency of a policeman who has just seen a fellow copper killed is not going to be one mercy and forgiveness. Vimes is eventually shocked out of the killing mood by Carrot, and lowers his weapon.

This evokes an episode in hard-man cop show The Sweeney[1], where Flying Squad copper Inspector Regan, in a rage after seeing a copper shot, almost has to be physically disarmed by his sidekick Sergeant Carter before he realises he has almost stepped over the invisible line, and taken out irrevocable rough justice on a cornered criminal. Note that the junior, subordinate, copper takes the lead in both situations.



Adapted by Stephen Briggs into a stage play in 1997.

Murder in Ankh-Morpork is a second adaptation of Men at Arms combining plot elements from Guards! Guards! and Feet of Clay. Dramatised by Stephen Briggs 2020.


First Edition Cover by Josh Kirby
'Letterbox' Hardback
Cover by Lissanne Lake
Paperback 2004
Audio Cassette
Audio CD
Cover by Michael Sabanosh
Cover by Michael Sabanosh-paperback
US Cover
Paperback 2012
Unseen Library Edition
Collectors Library Edition
Paperback 2023

External Links

Men at Arms Annotations - The Annotated Pratchett File

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Lords and Ladies

Discworld Series Next book

Soul Music

Previous book

Guards! Guards!

Watch Series Next book

Feet of Clay