Jingo is the twenty first Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett that my son, Oscar and I have shared together. It isn’t my favourite. We’re now into the middle years for Pratchett, where I lost enthusiasm for him and we parted ways for a few years. It’s interesting to read them again after such a long break (twenty odd years).
Jingo deals with the emergence of a new island between Ankh Morpork and Klatch that both cities decide belong to them. A small squabble over fishing rights and who gets to occupy the land, turns into the threat of all out war, and the mobilisation of ancestral armies on the streets of Ankh Morpork.
Samuel Vimes, commander of the Watch, smells a rat and investigates, or he would do if he wasn’t hampered by the political machinations of his aristocratic haters, in particular, Lord Rust, a man who wants to shut Vimes down for many reasons.
Oscar loved this because it is a book about the Watch. He brings to his reading, a wealth of knowledge amassed from the previous books and it suddenly makes him realise how valuable things like back stories are. He is beginning to predict how characters will behave in certain circumstances, and it gives him enormous joy when he is right.
I disliked this less, this time around, but then it seems to echo a lot of the political landscape in which we are forced to live at the moment, jingoism, xenophobia, racism and casual intolerance are all lampooned on Pratchett’s sharpest pen and I was moved to laugh more than once by parallels with current events. Despite the fact that they aren’t really funny. Current events that is.
It holds up better than I expected and there are some wonderful moments between Nobby Knobbs, Sergeant Colon and Lord Vetinari that I had totally forgotten about and which really made this a winner this time around.
Wonderful for teens who love fantasy, humour and satire. Not suitable for primary aged children unless you don’t mind doing lots of explaining of adult humour, double entendres, and in this case, politics and science.