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Men at Arms cover art

Men at Arms

By: Terry Pratchett
Narrated by: Jon Culshaw, Peter Serafinowicz, Bill Nighy
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The audiobook of Men At Arms is narrated by impressionist and actor Jon Culshaw, best known for BBC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, and for the Doctor Who audiobooks and dramas. BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning actor Bill Nighy (Love Actually; Pirates of the Caribbean; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) reads the footnotes, and Peter Serafinowicz (Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace; Shaun of the Dead) stars as the voice of Death. Featuring a new theme tune composed by James Hannigan.

'PEOPLE OUGHT TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES... THE PROBLEM IS, PEOPLE ONLY THINK FOR THEMSELVES IF YOU TELL THEM TO.'

Times are a-changing in Ankh-Morpork's Night Watch.

New recruits have been hired to reflect the city's diversity, including Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), and Lance-constable Angua (a woman... full moons aside).

What's more, Captain Sam Vimes is getting married and retiring from the Watch. For good. Which is a shame, because no one knows the streets of Ankh-Morpork or its criminal underworld better than him.

And someone armed and dangerous has been getting ideas about power and destiny and lost kings, committing a string of seemingly random murders across the city.

The new recruits will need to learn fast...

Men At Arms is the second book in the City Watch series, but you can listen to the Discworld novels in any order.

The first book in the Discworld series - The Colour of Magic - was published in 1983. Some elements of the Discworld universe may reflect this.

©1993 Terry Pratchett (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Funny, wise and mock heroic.... The funniest and best crafted book I have read all year." (Sunday Express)

What listeners say about Men at Arms

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    5 out of 5 stars

Struggling with the new narration

Culshaw is terrific with accents - he gets the main cast spot on - but his overall narration is painfully slow, misses the charm of Pratchett’s writing and Cruses in this one is unbearable to listen to. I itch to take the audio file and remove a lot of the lengthy pauses so the whole thing can flow better. Directorial influence could have made this really excellent. Notably the new versions are longer than the old unabridged versions, and that’s down to slow delivery.

Fantastic Pratchett as always.

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Such a great listen!

With such good source material, you need a cast that are up to the challenge and this is a great example of that!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent - the best audiobooks I've listened to

Already knew I loved the book but the narrators voices and pace of this audiobook are exceptional. you know exactly which character is talking, none stand out as out of place.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Jon Culshaw’s gorgeous voice.

Couldn’t dislike a thing. Totally transported by Culshaw’s narration. Every character in my mind realistic and true to Pratchetts vision I’m sure. Long time Discworld reader. I’m going to continue through all of Pratchett’s books again, solely on the amazing narration and the bringing of the characters to life.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great author, great story, great narrator

Highlight: Jon Calshaw’s “Bloody Stupid Johnson” voice

The only thing I’d change is the noise before the footnotes. It’s intrusive and unnecessary.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Never tire of re reading Discworld

I mean, you don't do you?
S'just good writing, good world building and good story telling. And a good chuckle, filled with heart.

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A bit slow but lots to like

The pacing in the new guards books is rather slow, but that’s the worst of it. By and large Jon Culshaw is spot on with the voices of the characters. I liked Vimes’ northern accent, although he sometimes sounds like he’s having respiratory difficulties which seems a little unlikely in a man who does a lot of running. A few political caricatures have crept in which are hilarious if you’re a Brit. The trolls at last sound big and craggy.

I don’t know that these versions are better than Nigel Planer and Stephen Biggs, both of whom I enjoyed as narrators. All three exaggerate the gags around spelling - maybe you have to when reading jokes that are fundamentally literary. I’ll probably sometimes listen to one version, sometimes another and have favourite bits in each rendition.

The slow pace has resulted in me hearing things in the text that I hadn’t noticed in previous versions. I found myself laughing in some parts because Jon Culshaw’s delivery gave the text space to breathe allowing humour to emerge which in other versions got lost in the drive to maintain momentum.

I’ve only given the narrator 4 stars because he’s not quite in the same league as Mathew Baynton, Andy Serkis and Indira Varma who are all absolutely superb and definitive in their versions of Sir Terry’s novels. I would have given him 4.5 if that was option. However, I’ve very much enjoyed this audiobook and will slowly collect the rest of Jon Culshaw’s versions of the Guards collection.

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Great book

I really enjoyed the book, but this narration takes it to another level. Highly recommended.

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Great character voices and a true vines tale

Serafínowich was fantastic. I think the foot notes could have been read by him too and not needed the jangly sfx when the footnotes are read.

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  • Mr
  • 15-06-23

When Vimes Took Off

If whoever at Penguin got Culshaw in just so Bloody Stupid Johnson’s few interjecfions could be done in a BoJo voice (on the day the Priveleges Committee published) that is admirable commitment to a bit. Chapeau.
This is an old fave, well delivered. No complaints.

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