The eighth novel in the Discworld Series
Winner of the Prix Ozone (France)

For Graham Higgins’s Guards! Guards!, A Discworld Big Comic, click here

UK hbk: Victor Gollancz, 14,200 copies on 9 November 1989 (0-575-04606-6) reprinted eight times, then reissued, 22 May 1997 (0-575-06485-4)
Book proof: c.100
Discworld Collector’s Library: The City Watch Collection (hbk, cover engraving by Joe McLaren): Gollancz, 28 February 2014 (978-1-473-20018-0)
The Illustrated  edition: Guards! Guards!,  illustrated with drawings and colour  plates by Paul Kidby: 1) Standard edition, Victor Gollancz,  16 November 2020  (978-1-473-23070-5) described on copyright page as a limited edition in error
2)  Slipcased Edition, 2,000 numbered, slip-cased copies, signed by the artist, Victor Gollancz, 25 March 2021 (978-1-473-23071-2)

Pbk: Corgi, 161,000 copies on 16 November 1990 (0-552-13462-7)
New issue, with black/gold photographic design cover, on sale at same time as Kirby edition, April 2005 (0-552-15293-5)
Reissued B-format with modified Kirby cover: Corgi, October 2012 (978-0-552-16666-9)
New edition with introduction by Ben Aaronovitch, cover illustration Levente Szabo: Corgi, 25 April 2019 (978-0-5521-7303-2)

Book Club: BCA took copies of the Gollancz edition without change.
BCA’s Unseen Library: 4,000 copies in November 2003 (CN 119059)   

US trade edition: 1. Roc/NAL (cover illus. Darrell K.Sweet), ?50,000 copies in 1990 (0-451-45089-2)
2. HarperTorch, cover illus. Ben Perrini, August 2001 (0-06-102064-8)
Copies of the Harper paperback printing 9/08 were also bound up in a library binding and sold by Turtleback Books (978-0-613-57217-0)
Premium pbk: Harper Premium, 30 April 2013 (978-0-06-2225

US book club: Science Fiction Book Club Selection, August 1991 (cover art by Doug Andersen), 24/7/91 (ref. 18548, some also with 1-56865-193-7 on title verso)
The first printings – maybe all – have the NAL device on the spine of the binding, and with the special bookclub jacket design and reference number, but with Gollancz publishing information on title and verso, except for ‘PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.’ at foot of the copyright page, and on second and later printings the addition of an ISBN below the copyright line.

Brazilian: Guardas! Guardas!, trs. Ludimila Hashimoto, Conrad, 2005 (85-7616-080-3)

Bulgarian: Стражите! Стражите!, trs. Mirela Khristova, Vuzev/Ahont-V, 3,000 copies in May 1998 (954-422-049-6)

Catalan: trs. Ernest Riera, Mai Més (hoped for Christmas 2020)

Chinese/complex (Taiwan): Solo Press, November 2012 (978-986-87727-9-3)

Chinese/mainland (simplified): 1. Science Fiction World Magazine, July 2012 (978-7-5364-7408-6)
2. Dook Shanghai [contracted but not yet published – City Watch series – 2019 or 2020]

Croatian: Marjan Tisak, [never seen, and no details received by Gollancz, who licensed it.  Tisak may never have published it] Croatian: Hangar 7, 2020

Czech: Stráže! Stráže!, trs. Jan Kantůrek, Talpress, 9,000 copies in November 1995, (80-85609-70-3)
Double volume, with Pyramids: with pencil illustrations by Paul Kidby, Talpress, 2010 (978-80-7197-403-1)

Dutch: Wacht! Wacht!, trs. Venugopalan Ittekot (pseud. of Ruurd Groot), Het Spectrum, 6,000   copies in 1993 (90-274-3337-2)
Reissue: Mynx, 2008 (978-90-225-5120-2)
   Schijfwereldomnibus nr.3 (omnibus edition with Pyramids and Faust Eric), Het Spectrum, ?5,000 copies in August 1999 (90-274-6757-9)

Estonian: Vahid! Vahid!, trs. Allan Eichenbaum, jacket illus. Hillar Mets, Varrak, February 2002 (9985-3-0527-2)

Finnish: Vartijat Hoi!, trs. Marja Sinkkonen, Karisto, 1999 (951-23-3978-1)
Pbk: Karisto, December 2001 (951-23-4176-X)

French: Au Guet!, trs. Patrick Couton, L’Atalante, February 1997 (2-84172-045-4)
Reissue, with new introduction by Terry Pratchett (dated September 2014), 24 April 2015 (978-2-84172-716-2)
Omnibus, with Men at Arms and Feet of Clay: Le Guet d’Ankh-Morpork, L’Atalante, 21 October 2010 (978-2-84172-522-9)

Pbk: Pocket, 15 November 1999 [according to] or December 2000 (2-266-09970-1)
Pbk with Marc Simonetti cover: Pocket, May 2011 (978-2-266-21188-8)

German: Wachen! Wachen!, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Heyne, SF/Fantasy series (06/4805) July 1991 (3-453-05029-0)
Reissued in Heyne’s general Allgemeine Reihe series (01/10956) June 1999 (3-453-15220-4)
Reissued in Heyne’a Allgemeine Reihe series, with new cover lettering September 2000 (1/12184, 3-453-17057-1)
Issued in a double volume with Mort, Heyne, October 2000 (3-453-16879-8; Tipp des Monats 23/165)

Published by Piper, February 2005 (3-492-28583-X) August 2005 (3-492-28507-4),
Reissue: Piper, July 2007 (978-3-492-28625-1), revised design on the 6th printing, December 2009
Piper originally announced in their 2005 catalogue that they would be publishing the title with their imprint in August, but the stock that Piper took over from Heyne sold out faster than they expected and they therefore had to issue it much earlier than planned. This, I am told, necessitated the allocation of a separate ISBN to the earlier issue, so that issue has a ‘later’ ISBN.

25th Discworld anniversary edition, April 2008 (978-3-492-28630-5)
Paperback reissued with new cover design by Katarzyna Oleska, Piper, June 2015 (978-3-492-28068-6) reprinted January 2018
All nine Piper Discworld titles issued in a box.with spines combining to create a single image by Katarzyna Oleska, illustrator of all the covers, Piper, 8 June 2015 (978-3-492-28080-8)

Bookclub: derclub, 2003 (05681-2)

Double pbk volume, with Der Zauberhut (Sourcery), Piper, March 2013 (978-3-492-26904-9)
Double pbk volume with Das Erbe des Zauberers (Equal Rites), Piper, September 2014 (978-3-492-26963-6)

Greek: Φρουροί! Φρουροί!, trs. Michalēs Liokalos, Ekdoseis Dokos, 2010 (978-960-99206-0-5)

Hebrew: שומדים!, שומדים!, trs. Shlomit Handelsman, Kinneret, ?November 1998 (965-286-707-1)

Hungarian: 1. Örség! Örség!, trs. Dr Sohár Anikó, Cherubion Könyvkiadó, c. 4,000 copies in  25 November 2000 (963-9110-96-5)
2. Örség! Örség!, trs. Csaba Járdán, Delta Vision, 8 November 2014 (978-963-395-058-6) [not yet seen]

Italian: A me le guardie!, trs. Antonella Pieretti, Salani, cover illus. Paul Kidby, May 2002 (88-8451-181-X) ‘The first volume in a new trilogy of the City Watch’
TEA edition: January 2005 (88-502-0650-X)

Norwegian: I lovens navn!, trs. Torleif Sjøgren-Erichsen, Tiden Norsk, 2,000 copies in May 2002 (82-10-04624-1)

Polish: Straż! Straż!, trs. Piotr W.Cholewa, Fantastyka S-ka/Prószyński i S-ka, ?November 1999 (83-7180-599-3)
Hbk: 20 June 2005 (83-7469-079-8)

Romanian: Gărzi! Gărzi!, trs. Bogdan Mihăilescu, Rao International, June 2008 (978-973-103-675-5)

Russian: Стража! Стража! trs. S. Zhuzhunavy, Eksmo, 10,100 copies on 22 May 2001 (5-04-007415-8)
New edition hardcover: Eksmo, 2006 (5-699-17431-1)
New edition with monochrome cover with Paul Kidby image reversed out in white, and end-papers listing the titles in each sub-series; Eksmo, 4 December 2017 [printed 2018] (978-5-04-090237-8)
New printing with typographical cover: Eksmo, 3,000 copies in October 2020 (978-5-04-111858-7)
Hbk illustrated by Paul Kidby, Eksmo, 3,000 copies on 16 February 2021 (978-5-04-115359-5)
Pbk: Eksmo, 18 September 2018 (978-5-04-097435-1)
Double volume with Men at Arms: Eksmo, 5,000 copies printed on 14 April 2003 (5-699-02859-5)
Three book volume with Men at Arms and Feet of Clay called Стража! Стража!, Eksmo, 28 January 2015 (978-5-699-62981-7)

Serbian/Yugoslav: Straża! Straża!, trs. Dejan Papić, Laguna, 1,000 copies on ?15 September 2000 (86-7436-006-8)

Slovak: 1) Stráže! Stráže!, trs. Vladislav Gális, Talpress, 2009 (978-80-7197-376-8)
2) Stráže! Stráže!, trs. Vladislav Gális, Slovart, 2019 (978-80-556-3897-3)

Spanish: ¡Guardias! ¡Guardias!, trs. Cristina Macía, Martínez Roca, 1993 (84-270-1720-0)
Pbk: ¡Guardias! ¿Guardias?, Plaza & Janés June 1999 (col. Jet 84-01-46161-8, vol.342/6, 84-01-47946-0) The replacement of ¡! by ¿? was not noticed until 2008 and then corrected. 

reissued in Debolls!llo series, July 2001 (84-8450-785-8) repr. 5/02
1st printing in new format, 1/04 (84-9793-186-6) 8th printing 10/11 (978-84-9793-186-1)
Note: Almost all Debols!llo printings carry a descriptive blurb that bears little relevance to the plot. For a few printings it then had an accurate version, but someone in the publisher’s production dept. then reverted to the inaccurate one, and their error has again been pointed out to them. Here’s an English translation: ‘An army of dwarves has travelled to Ankh-Morpork to face a huge dragon that terrorizes the inhabitants of the place. But it is a very peculiar army, since besides dwarves, its combatants are recalcitrant cowards. Things being like that, the prospect doesn’t look very encouraging, but you never know… A new instalment of the most hilarious science fiction saga of all time.’ It has caused the Spanish publishers considerable embarrassment, but does not seem to have adversely affected sales… how important are the blurbs? The knowledge that it’s a Discworld novel is obviously sufficient.

Kiosk edition: Altaya, 2008 (978-84-487-2576-1)

Swedish: I Lagens Namm, trs. Peter Lindforss, Wahlströms, 1995 (91-32-31938-X)
Pbk: BW-Pocket/Wahlströms, 1997 (91-92-43084-1)

Turkish: 1. Muhafizlar! Muhafizlar!, trs. Niran Elçi, Ithaki, 2003 (975-8725-81-5)
2. trs. Niran Elçi, Delidolu/Tudem, January 2017 (978-605-5060-59-6)

Ukrainian: Варта! Варта!, trs. Irina Serebryakova and Anastasiya Konik, Starego Leva (Old Lion) 2019 (978-617-679-700-5)

Background illustration © and by courtesy of Marc Simonetti


Girding his loins for the start of his epic roadshow, Gollancz author Terry Pratchett admitted to having just written (for his own benefit) the “blurb” for his next book. With a provisional title of Guards! Guards!, the novel, still in embryo, will have a central character who leads a platoon of unfortunates (those who are in every form of fiction, “who attack the hero one by one and are killed, one by one”).
Report on World Fantasy Convention in The Bookseller, 11.11.88
The story did not end up quite like this…

 ‘Of all the cities in all the world it could have flown into, it flew into mine…’
Some night-time prowler is turning the citizens of Ankh-Morpork, greatest city of the Discworld, into something resembling small charcoal biscuits.
And that’s a real problem for Captain Vimes of the City Watch, who must tramp the mean streets of the naked city searching for a seventy-foot-long fire-breathing dragon which, he believes, can help him with his enquiries.
In a city thrown in turmoil by magic, charcoal biscuits, secret societies and mad lady dragon breeders (‘Just tell him sit if he’s bothering you’), he’s just looking for the facts.
Enter another large young man just out of the sticks and ‘heading for the city with all the openness, sincerity and innocence of purpose of an iceberg drifting into a major shipping lane.’ This time it’s Carrot, the massive-but-tapering hero of Terry Pratchett’s new Discworld novel, Guards! Guards!.
Carrot isn’t particularly clever, and his sword is remarkably free of runes, gems, or other marks of destiny. Just as well, for the newest member of Ankh-Morpork’s woefully inadequate Night Watch. It wouldn’t do to attract too much attention in a place where the members of the Thieves’ and Assassins’ guilds are pillars of the community, where the Patrician rules amid singular austerity, a demonic cult plots havoc, and a dragon is on the loose.

Of course Carrot fails to keep a low profile. (Did the iceberg miss the Titanic?) But he shares centre stage with his fellow misfits in the Watch, most notably Captain Vimes, whom we first encounter drunk in a gutter, having trouble with his vocabulary. As the gutter becomes metaphoric and Vimes clambers out of it, the Night Watch loses some of its pathetic ineptitude. On their road to something almost resembling greatness, the guards will encounter Lady Ramkin (tweedy breeder of miniature dragons), a young man with the very flashy sword, the Supreme Grand Master of a cult that thrives on petty bickering, the orang-utan Librarian (now revealed as an initiate into the awesome secrets of “L-Space”), and assorted fire-breathing beasts who resolutely defy the laws of aerodynamics.
Need I say it’s hilarious, with moments of genuine poignance and grandeur? Pratchett demonstrates just how great the distance is between one- or two-joke writers and the comic masters whose work will still be read well into the next century. So, no more talk about his “getting better with each book”. He reached the top of his form some time ago, and should remain there for years, to everyone’s benefit. Locus

I just finished Guards! Guards! and it was so good I just sat there and stared blissfully into space, drunk on book.