|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...
Since defeating a dragon (see Guards! Guards!) the Night Watch has enjoyed extra popularity. To try and combat this, the Patrician tells Vimes that they must represent the ethnic make-up of the city - which leads to the recruitment of Cuddy, Detritus and Angua. Only a few days after they join the Watch, three people are murdered - Mr Hammerhock, a dwarf weapons manufacturer, Lettice Knibbs, a beggar, and Beano, a clown. The Patrician orders the Watch not to investigate, so they do, and find that the Assassins Guild may hold some responsibility. Vimes is almost murdered, and discovers that someone has built a new kind of weapon, a 'gonne', that fires pellets of lead at high velocity. Their aim is to put a king on the throne - and the rightful king turns out to be Corporal Carrot. The same someone kills Edward d'Eath, an assassin, and Lance-Constable Cuddy. The President of the Assassin's Guild is found to be the murderer on the day of Vimes' wedding to Lady Ramkin, the gonne is destroyed, and all the evidence that Carrot is king mysteriously disappears......
But it's a lot more complicated than that, of course.
Men at Arms is my favourite Discworld book, and the first to feature Angua, Detritus and Cuddy. Like all the Discworld books, it's very funny, and for some reason all my favourite scenes (for example, the iron-ball-with-spikes-on bit) are all together. The W jokes are also very good.