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Looking for a captivating audiobook with an imaginative tale and brilliant narration? Look no further than Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant. In this audiobook review, we’ll explore why this fifth novel in the widely beloved Discworld series deserves a spot on your must-read list. From Pratchett’s unique storytelling style to the engaging characters and satirical elements, we’ll delve into what makes this story so unforgettable.

About Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) was an English author best known for his extensive work in the fantasy genre. He has authored over 70 books, including the popular Discworld series, which has sold over 80 million copies worldwide. Pratchett’s writing style is marked by his sharp wit, clever satire, and imaginative worldbuilding which are greatly appreciated by readers and literary critics alike. His literary works have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal and the Nebula Award.

Pratchett’s writing has a humorous and satirical approach to fantasy literature that sets him apart from other writers in the genre. He also addresses important social issues such as animal welfare, modern science, and the environment, making his works relevant and timeless.

The Discworld Series

The Discworld series, which consists of 41 novels, is considered one of Pratchett’s most notable works. The series is set on a flat, disc-shaped world that is perched atop the backs of four giant elephants, who in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle that swims slowly through space. The series is a humorous satire of various aspects of society and culture, with particular emphasis on politics, religion, and popular culture.

Pratchett’s Unique Writing Style

Pratchett’s writing style is marked by his keen sense of humor, biting satire, and imaginative worldbuilding. His books are full of unexpected twists and turns, as well as richly developed characters that readers can’t help but fall in love with. His ability to create fascinating worlds and characters is what sets him apart from other writers in the fantasy genre.


Even years after his passing, Terry Pratchett’s work continues to captivate readers with its blend of humor, satire, and fantasy. His legacy lives on through his extensive body of work, as well as through the many writers and fans who have been inspired by his writing. Pratchett’s unique style and contributions to the genre have established him as one of the most influential fantasy writers of all time.

Introduction to “The Fifth Elephant”

In “The Fifth Elephant,” the fifth novel of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, readers are transported to the city of Ankh-Morpork, where the city’s watch commander, Sir Samuel Vimes, is sent on a mission to attend the crowning of a new king in the neighboring country of Uberwald. The novel sets the stage for an engaging story filled with politics, intrigue, and adventure.

The novel features a range of unique and quirky characters, including Lady Sybil Ramkin, a dragon-breeder, and two werewolves, Angua von Uberwald and Sergeant Detritus. The story takes place in a richly imagined world full of magical creatures, dwarves, and a wide array of fascinating and peculiar characters.

The table below summarizes the premise and set up of the “The Fifth Elephant” in greater detail:

Premise Samuel Vimes travels to Uberwald for the coronation of King of the Dwarves, alongside Lord and Lady Ramkin.
Setting Ankh-Morpork and Uberwald
Major Characters Samuel Vimes, Lady Sybil Ramkin, Angua von Uberwald, Sergeant Detritus, and more.
Themes Politics, race relations, tradition, and change

Terry Pratchett’s “The Fifth Elephant” offers an enjoyable reading experience for fans of the Discworld universe and newcomers alike. The compelling story, rich worldbuilding, and unique characters make for a delightful adventure.

Plot Summary

Set in the fantastical world of Discworld, “The Fifth Elephant” follows the journey of Sir Samuel Vimes, a hard-boiled Commander tasked with attending the crowning of the new Low King of the Dwarves. Facing werewolves, dwarves, and politics, Vimes discovers a conspiracy surrounding the missing Scone of Stone, a mystical object with the potential to change the course of history.

As Vimes navigates through the dangers and intrigues of this adventure, he also grapples with his own inner conflicts and demons, making the story both action-packed and character-driven. The plot takes twists and turns, leading to a thrilling climax that ties together all the themes and subplots into a satisfying resolution.

“The Fifth Elephant” is an exciting addition to Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld series, showcasing his unique blend of humor, satire, and fantasy. It is a must-read for fans of the series and a great starting point for newcomers.

Narration Quality

One of the most important aspects of any audiobook is the quality of the narration. In the case of “The Fifth Elephant,” the voice actor has a critical role in bringing Terry Pratchett’s satirical fantasy world to life. The narrator’s performance impacts the listener’s overall experience, making it a crucial element to evaluate in this audiobook review.

The narrator of “The Fifth Elephant” audiobook is Stephen Briggs, who has narrated several other audiobooks in the Discworld series. Briggs has a rich and pleasant voice that creates a comfortable listening experience. His delivery remains consistent and engaging throughout the audiobook, captivating listeners with the wit and humor of Terry Pratchett’s writing.

Briggs also adds a unique touch to each character’s voice, allowing listeners to distinguish between them easily. The voice actor uses accents and pacing to differentiate characters and convey Pratchett’s humorous dialogue. Briggs’s performance enhances the listener’s experience and immerses them in the story, making it a noteworthy aspect of the audiobook.

In conclusion, the narration quality of “The Fifth Elephant” audiobook by Stephen Briggs is exceptional. His performance brings the characters and the story to life, adding a new dimension to the listener’s experience. Overall, it is a captivating and enjoyable audiobook that audiobook review enthusiasts should explore.

Engaging Characters

The characters in “The Fifth Elephant” are memorable and diverse, adding depth and entertainment to the story. Commander Samuel Vimes is a strong-willed protagonist who provides a sense of stability amidst the chaos of Ankh-Morpork. Lady Sybil Ramkin is a charming and enigmatic character who shows surprising strength and intelligence throughout the book. The dwarves and werewolves also add richness and unique perspectives to the story. Terry Pratchett’s masterful characterizations bring the cast to life, making it easy for readers to become invested in their fates.

Satire and Themes

With The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett uses his signature style of satire to comment on a variety of themes that are relevant to our society today. The Discworld series has always been known for its social commentary, and this installment is no exception.


One of the most prominent themes in The Fifth Elephant is politics. Pratchett uses the dwarves of the story to comment on the political struggles of various nation-states throughout our world. The Discworld dwarves have their own unique politics, but they’re recognizable enough to draw parallels with real-world political issues.


Another theme that Pratchett explores in The Fifth Elephant is racism. The tensions between the dwarves and werewolves in the story are used to tackle themes of discrimination and prejudice. Pratchett’s use of fantasy elements allows him to comment on these issues in a way that feels fresh and engaging.

Human Nature

Finally, Pratchett uses The Fifth Elephant to comment on human nature as a whole. The story’s complex characters and their interactions with one another allow Pratchett to comment on the intricacies of being human. The satirical tone keeps things light, but the underlying commentary about what makes us human is present throughout the story.

Terry Pratchett satire and themes

Overall, The Fifth Elephant offers readers a thoughtful exploration of some of society’s most pertinent issues through the lens of Pratchett’s fantasy universe. The author’s skillful use of satire and his ability to tackle complex themes through relatable characters make this a must-read for fans of the Discworld series and newcomers alike.

Worldbuilding and Descriptive Writing

Terry Pratchett’s ability to bring readers into his imaginative world is one of the most striking features of “The Fifth Elephant.” The vividly described locations and fantastical elements of Discworld showcase his excellent worldbuilding skills, transporting readers to a realm that’s both recognizable and unique. Through intricate details and descriptions, Pratchett creates a rich tapestry of imagery that allows readers to picture the scenes and characters as if they were real. This makes the experience of reading “The Fifth Elephant” all the more engaging and immersive.

The worldbuilding of Discworld is brought to life through Pratchett’s descriptive writing, which is both imaginative and precise. The author’s ability to introduce fantastical elements in a way that seems natural and believable is a testament to his writing prowess. By grounding his descriptions in a familiar context, he makes it easy for readers to relate to the world of Discworld and the characters that inhabit it.

Emotional Resonance

Terry Pratchett’s “The Fifth Elephant” is a captivating novel that successfully evokes a range of emotions from readers. Throughout the story, Pratchett weaves moments of humor, suspense, and heartwarming scenes that connect with readers on a deeper level.

One of the most emotional scenes in the novel is when Lady Sybil Ramkin bravely confronts werewolf Angua von Uberwald, insisting that she continue to lead a life true to herself, despite the pressures of her family and society. This moment showcases the power of individuality and staying true to oneself, which can resonate with many readers on a personal level.

Additionally, the relationship between Sir Samuel Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin displays a heartwarming connection that evolves over the course of the novel. Their dynamic highlights the importance of finding love and support in unlikely places, which can also strike an emotional chord with readers.

Overall, “The Fifth Elephant” successfully balances its satirical elements with moments of emotional resonance, making for an engaging and thought-provoking read.

Reception and Critique

Since its release in 1999, “The Fifth Elephant” has received generally positive reviews from readers and critics alike. Many praise Terry Pratchett’s unique wit and satire, highlighting the novel’s ability to comment on real-world issues in a fantastical setting.

Some critics have noted that while the novel has its entertaining moments, it lacks the consistency and coherence present in Pratchett’s earlier works, such as “Guards! Guards!” and “Mort.”

On Goodreads, “The Fifth Elephant” has an average rating of 4.14 out of 5 stars, based on over 70,000 ratings. Readers praise the book’s well-developed characters, intricate worldbuilding, and clever humor.

Compared to other novels in the Discworld series, “The Fifth Elephant” is widely regarded as one of the stronger entries. Its engaging story and themes make it a standout addition to Terry Pratchett’s unique universe.

Overall, “The Fifth Elephant” has received a warm reception from both fans and critics alike, solidifying its place in the Discworld canon.

The Fifth Elephant reception and critique image

Related Works by Terry Pratchett

If you enjoyed “The Fifth Elephant”, there are plenty of other Terry Pratchett books to explore. His most well-known works are part of the Discworld series, a collection of over 40 novels that take place in a magical, satirical world.

Here are a few key books in the Discworld series:

Title Publication Year
Mort 1987
Guards! Guards! 1989
Small Gods 1992
Night Watch 2002

For those who prefer standalone novels, Terry Pratchett offers several options, including:

  • Good Omens – co-written with Neil Gaiman, this humorous take on the apocalypse has become a cult classic.
  • Nation – a young adult novel set in a world inspired by the South Pacific.
  • Johnny and the Dead – a children’s book about a boy who can talk to ghosts.

No matter which Terry Pratchett book you choose, you’re sure to experience his signature blend of fantasy, humor, and social commentary.

Recommendation and Final Thoughts

Overall, “The Fifth Elephant” audiobook by Terry Pratchett is a must-listen for fans of satirical fantasy and those looking for a unique and entertaining experience. The narration quality is exceptional, bringing the characters to life in a way that enhances the story’s impact. The engaging characters, witty satire, and imaginative worldbuilding make this audiobook a standout in the Discworld series.

If you enjoy humorous and insightful storytelling with fantasy elements, “The Fifth Elephant” is highly recommended. Join Commander Vimes on an adventure filled with twists and turns that will leave you wanting more.

In conclusion, Terry Pratchett’s legacy lives on through his impressive and imaginative works, and “The Fifth Elephant” is a shining example of his storytelling prowess. Don’t miss out on this captivating audiobook!


After a thorough evaluation of the audiobook review of Terry Pratchett’s “The Fifth Elephant,” it is clear that the novel is a true masterpiece of satire and fantasy. From the vivid worldbuilding to the engaging characters, Pratchett has created a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The narration quality of the audiobook is top-notch, with the voice actor bringing the characters to life and enhancing the listener’s experience. The plot is engaging and full of unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers hooked until the very end.

Pratchett’s unique writing style and his ability to comment on human nature, politics, and social issues through fantasy and humor make “The Fifth Elephant” a must-read for fans of the genre. The emotional resonance of the story is undeniable, with moments of humor, suspense, and heartwarming scenes that connect readers on a deeper level.

Overall, “The Fifth Elephant” is an outstanding addition to the Discworld series and a testament to Terry Pratchett’s literary legacy. It is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good audiobook and wants to experience the magic and humor that Pratchett’s writing offers.

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