Fifteenth Discworld novel and second to star the City Watch, Terry Pratchett’s 1993 Men at Arms is a funny romp on the streets of Ankh-Morpork that brings together some of his most beloved characters. Compared to some other Discworld offerings, the novel is less focused thematically, but makes up for it with a quantity of trademark humor—slapstick, satire, wordplay, and otherwise—beyond what is standard in the series.
Men at Arms opens with Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson writing home to his family, describing to them the current events of the City Watch in Ankh-Morpork. A few new recruits have been landed, including a dwarf, a troll, and a woman—strange newcomers for what has been a WASP institution since the Watch took its place in the city. Right off the bat the group’s tenor is tested by having to put down a minor dwarf-troll insurrection—the two groups’ enmity threatening to erupt violently. Captain Vimes has also announced his retirement from the Watch. He quickly discovers, however, his final days are to be anything but relaxing. With a rogue member of the Assassin’s Guild chasing a fool dream to reinstate a king in mayor Vetinari’s place, Vimes must use all of his alcohol riddled wits to trace the mysterious assassin as he moves from one bizarre murder scene to another, the weapon of choice unlike anything the city has seen before.