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Summary

Sam Vines is a man on the run. Yesterday, he was a duke, a chief of police and ambassador to the mysterious, fat-rich country of Uberwald. Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya. And if he can't make it through the forest to civilisation, there's going to be a terrible war. But there are monsters on his trail. They're werewolves - and they're catching up. Sam Vimes is out of time and already out of breath....

Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.

©1999 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2000 Isis Publishing, Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Unadulterated fun. Pratchett parodies everything in sight." (San Francisco Chronicle)

What listeners say about The Fifth Elephant

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A review about narrators, Planer versus Briggs

Any additional comments?

I am a confirmed Night Watch fan so I am not going to talk about the story. When I bought this download, I really wanted a review about the difference in narrators, which I couldn't find, so perhaps this will be of interest. My advice is: Stick with it, even if you have to grit your teeth for the whole of Part 1 because everyone sounds different. I very, very nearly gave up on Stephen Briggs and contemplated asking Audible if I could return the audiobook, but because I couldn't bear not to hear the story, I persevered - and as so often the case, I'm very glad I did. Of course Briggs sounds very different, and I still don't understand why ALL the accents had to change (surely he could have picked up some of the characters in the voices established by Planer?), but I can honestly say that I now consider him a far better reader in all respects. Just to warn you: two major stumbling blocks for me were (and to a degree remain) Carrot - now a rather whiny Welshman whose voice, to me at least, doesn't match up to his physical description - and Colon, who has stopped being a likable Irishman and become a pompous and (partly due to the story) thoroughly obnoxious, verging on Fascist Dad's Army-type idiot. Also, Briggs starts this story at a worryingly slow pace. Fortunately he then picks up the reading speed (presumably as he gets into his own Pratchett stride) without actually gabbling as Planer can occasionally do. On the plus side, Briggs is much more consistent than Planer, who (as we all know) tends to get his character voices muddled (very unprofessional).Most importantly in my view, Vimes is absolutely spot-on. Sibyl too comes into her own in this story. Briggs does absolute justice to all the humour in the story and his Inigo made me laugh out loud.
In conclusion, don't hesitate to buy this story despite the change in narrator and give Briggs the benefit of the doubt for the first few hours. By the end you will be a convert.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Book

I really enjoyed this Pratchett- previously I have only ever listened to the abridged books (having read them all!) and was not sure how I would like the full book being read by a different voice.
But Stephen Briggs has an superb voice, and this really brought the characters to life. I had a few odd looks from fellow drivers as I was sat in a traffic jam laughing like a fool!

10 people found this helpful

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Sorry Steve !

Right, nothing against Stephen Briggs whatsoever, and I don’t know what the reasoning for this decision is but it’s a terrible one. Mr.Briggs is no Nigel planer and throughout listening to the discworld books which were treasured reads of my youth, I’ve enjoyed Nigel’s portrayal of my beloved discworld inhabitants, he portrays them exactly as my mind lifted them from the page all those years ago and then randomly amidst all these classics being performed fantastically by Nigel Planer, we have Stephen Briggs, who throws the whole thing off balance, they should have stuck with one narrator. Again, Stephen is brilliant, but I’m so used to Nigel by this point I am struggling to enjoy this audio book properly

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Sam Vimes to the rescue in classic Pratchett

Another classic Pratchett outing, this time following Vimes' exploits in Uberwald as a diplomat. Sam Vimes is to diplomacy what icebergs were to transatlantic shipping in the early twentieth century - dangerous. And so begins the central conceit of this marvellous book. To heap further accolades on Pratchett is pointless - the man is simply a genius and this book was written at the height of his considerable powers. It's not just the humour that sets this book apart, it is the masterly insight into human nature that makes it shine. Add this to your Pratchett collection and you won't regret it. Oh yes, and the narration was pretty good as well!

8 people found this helpful

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Great story, didn't like narrator

Narrator should have listened to previous book, or narrate them all. It's difficult to listen to different accents for characters you already know, don't even get me started on DEATH!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pratchett At His Best!

Book 24 in the Discworld Saga, sees Commander Vimes thrown into the turbulent world of politics, as the Ambassador for Ankh-Morpork, attending the crowning of the Low King in Uberwald. Meanwhile Captain Carrot follows his heart and poor old Fred Colon faces his own particular challenges back at HQ. Excellent wit and humor with all the good bits that we've come to expect from Mr. P. This story (and production) is make it truly enjoyable by the narration from Stephen Briggs. Together, these gentlemen provide what can simply be described as a thoroughly good read, errrr, I mean listen!

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Not used to the new voices.

It would have got 5 stars across the board from me but I just prefer the old narration.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!

The 5th elephant is probably one of Terry Prachett's best books. It is well written and has interesting and funny chracters. The narrating is also really good. It is nice to listen to and will make you laugh out loud!

5 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Just a brilliant story - clever, witty, and so, so funny.
Sam Vimes gets to try out diplomacy and pokes fun at the silliness and pomposity of it all. And gets chased by werewolves - what's not to love?
As with all the Discworld novels, I come back to this one time and time again.
The narration is wonderful too.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent throughout

Really like the Briggs narration compared to other readings and wish more were available! Carrot and Vimes' accent is spot on! Great listening from start to finish

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shaun McGregor
  • 17-04-14

Hard not to love Commander Vimes

The Vimes story lines are always Prachett's best work. This is funny, clever and exciting. This was the first time I had heard Stephen Briggs reading and it was a bit off putting for me but he performed magnificently. Plus dwarves, and vampires *and* werewolves, how can you not love these books?

I would not recommend reading this without first reading the other city watch books. You'll miss out on all those little "inside jokes" peppered throughout. No one likes missing out on inside jokes.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ger
  • 07-12-20

I've listened to this at least six times

I'm already looking forward to listening to it again. This, as well as the other city watch books, as well as all other Pratchett books, are the best there is.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josie
  • 03-12-11

Vintage Pratchett

What did you love best about The Fifth Elephant?

The story was great, and as usual Stephen Briggs did his exemplar best. Terry Pratchett at his best. I have read and reread this story so many times, but I find there is always something new I have missed in past readings.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fifth Elephant?

The chase of the Werewolves, you know Vimes is going to get out of it, but you never quite know how, until he does.

Which character – as performed by Stephen Briggs – was your favorite?

Being Welsh myself, I love Stephen Briggs's Dwarf's, he is so good with the accent, I could almost believe he was born next door to me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I always try to make Terry Pratchett's books last as long as I can, so I limit myself(if I can) to three hours a day, mostly though I just keep on listening spellbound.

Any additional comments?

One of his best.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-11-10

Good story, poor quality

I love S. Briggs, and I love Pratchett books, especially when read by Briggs, but for some reason this one was really... choppy. There were glitches in the file, through both parts, where it would blank out, skip or whatever, and often I'd miss a word or two. Disappointing for such a great story!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-12-20

Good.

Terry Pratchett is a great writer, very clever and funny. My ideal narrator would be James Acaster, I think he would have great comedic timing, but the narration here was good. I had no technical problems with the recording.

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  • Lyndel
  • 30-10-20

Another wonderful book in The Watch Series

If you're new to Disk World's The Watch Series, starts with Guard's Guards where Captain Vimes along with Carrot, Colon and Nobby hilariously fight a huge magical dragon and helped by Lady Sybil Ramkin the breeder of the tiny Swamp Dragons so popular as cigar lighters. The Lady is captured, chained to rock and offered as dinner to the wicked fire breathing dragon. Let the fun begin !!
I loved every word read and laughed til I cried. That's the first book to listen to, but all Terry Pratchett's books are Stand Alone.

The Fifth Elephant Sam Vimes has married Lady Sybil the richest woman in the city and is now not only Commander of Watch
but Sir Samual Vimes and His Excellency The Duke of Anhk Morpork, much to poor Mr Vimes' dismay. He hates the aristocracy in all its forms and appalled to find himself one of them.

The Patrician has ordered The Duke to attend the Coronation of the Low King of Dwarves but everywhere His Excellency The Duke of Anhk Morpork goes so does the Commander of The Watch and where the Commander of the Watch goes, he finds a crime: much to his wife's dismay.

I'd previously read all Disk World books and later tried out the audio version, WHAT A DELIGHTFUL TREAT ! The narration of every Disk World book is brilliant, clever and so very very funny.
I highly commend immersing yourself and family in the magnificently funny exploits and thoughts of Sam Vimes,. Excellent Rendition !!!!

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  • Stef
  • 20-06-20

bloody brilliant

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, another fantastic addition to the Discworld series. I am in love with Gavin.

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  • Tobias
  • 23-08-19

Good Story OK Reading

As always Terry Pratchett delivers. His stories about the Watchmen are among his best and this one is no exception. But in my opinion mr. Briggs, though being a good reader, is not on par with Tony Robbinson an certainly not with Nigel Planer whose readings of Pratchett's novels are second to none. It's still a good listen, well worth hearing.

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  • Marit
  • 17-08-19

Epic tale

This might be my favorite Discworld story so far! Vimes and Carrot have been my favorite characters for a long time, and this book just made me love them even more 😊

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  • James
  • 23-04-19

Absolute gem.

Anybody new to Pratchett and 'Discworld', should ideally start at the beginning. As Pratchett' character development, is truly wonderful to behold.

However, all those rulebreakers out there can easily pick up any of the series dive in and just appreciate it, as a standalone.

Well worth the credit.