|A weathercock has risen from the sea of the Discworld, and suddenly you can tell which way the wind is blowing.
A new land has surfaced, and so have old feuds.
And as two armies march, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch has got just a few hours to deal with a crime so big that there's no law against it. It's called 'war'.
He's facing unpleasant people who are out to get him...and that's just the people on his side. The enemy might even be worse. And his pocket Dis-organiser says he's got Die under 'Things To Do Today'.
But he'd better not, because the world's cleverest inventor and it's most devious politician are on the way to the battlefield with a little package that's guaranteed to stop a battle...
Discworld goes to war, with armies of sardines, warriors, fishermen, squid and at least one very camp follower.
The island of Leshp has risen from under the sea. Strategically set as it is directly between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch, both countries want to control it, and may face war over it. During the procession before the Wizard's annual Convivium, the Klatchian ambassador is assassinated, and the Klatchian embassy is set on fire. The Watch are ordered not to interfere, but Vetinari takes Leonard of Quirm, Nobby and Sgt. Colon away on a secret mission. Angua is kidnapped whilst spying on a Klatchian ship, so Vimes, Carrot, Detritus, Cheery, Reg Shoe and Visit set off to get her back, and meanwhile prevent a war. Vetinari arrives just as Carrot is arresting the whole battlefield for breaching the peace, and deals surrender papers - that must be signed on Leshp. Leshp sinks beneath the sea again, and everyone goes home.
But it's a lot more complicated than that, of course.
The line 'Oh my goodness me, a walking potato' still makes me crack up. That said, this ties with Guards! Guards! for my third favourite Watch book. The plot is good, with a definite moral, but it does not match the sheer genius that was Men at Arms.