|Of all the cities in all the world it could have flown into, it flew into mine...
Some night-time prowler is turning the citizens of Ankh-Morpork, greatest city of the Discworld, into something resembling small charcoal biscuits.
And that's a real problem for Captain Vimes of the City Watch, who must tramp the mean streets of the naked city searching for a seventy-foot long fire-breathing dragon which, he believes, can help him with his enquiries.
In a city thrown into turmoil by magic, charcoal biscuits, secret societies and mad lady dragon breeders ('Just tell him to sit if he's bothering you'), he's just looking for the facts.
Warning - this synopsis may ruin your enjoyment of the book, by revealing the storyline. If this doesn't bother you, or you've already read it, read on.
A man has decided that Ankh-Morpork needs a king - and has been calling dragons from their resting place to help him put one on the throne. But the dragon has ideas of its own, and becomes king itself, much to the horror of all the people of the city, espscially the man who summoned it, the Patrician's secretary, Lupine Wonse. The Ankh-Morpork Night Watch try to defeat the dragon, and luckily the chance of them succeeding is exactly a million to one. The dragon flies away, leaving the Watch with a slightly higher status than before.
But it's a lot more complicated than that, of course.
This book introduces the Watch, and sets the scene for the other books. I like it very much, and there are some great moments (' 'Just checking you were not et.' 'I haven't been et.'). However it unfortunately only comes joint third (tieing with Jingo), but then what's joint third, out of twenty three?