Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay is the nineteenth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and a parody of detective novels. It was published in 1996. The story follows the members of The Watch, as they attempt to solve murders apparently committed by a golem, as well as the unusual poisoning of the Patrician.

The title is a figure of speech from the Bible (Daniel 2:33-45) used to indicate a weakness or a hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person:

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image ... his feet part of iron and part of clay. ... And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken."

The script used in the book to represent Morporkian being written by a golem resembles the Hebrew alphabet, a reference to golems' origins in Jewish mythology. (The script used by golems when writing Golem is very different. See Going Postal.)


A cabal of Ankh-Morpork's guild leaders seek to gradually depose of the Patrician, replace him with Nobby Nobbs as the new king and rule the city through him.

The cabal order Meshugah, a golem newly-made by other golems in the hope he would be a king and leader for them, to fabricate poisoned candles and have them delivered to the palace. But the golems used an oven rather than a proper kiln to bake Meshugah, which leaves him literally "half-baked". He goes mad, its mind overloaded with all the wishes and propositions of the golem community, and starts killing people. (The name Meshugah comes from the adjective meaning "crazy", in Hebrew.)

At this point the City Watch steps in trying to solve the murders and Lord Vetinari's poisoning. With the assistance of their new forensics dwarf Cheery Littlebottom, Commander Vimes and Captain Carrot unravel the mystery. Carrot and Dorfl, one of the golems, fight and defeat the golem king at the candlestick factory. Afterwards, Vimes confronts the city's chief herald, a vampire, who instigated the whole affair. Dorfl arrests him despite tenuous evidence and Vimes burns down all the heralds' records of the nobility as a sort of punishment.

In the end, Vetinari has recovered completely, Dorfl is sworn in as a watchman, Vimes gets a pay raise, and the watch house gets a new dart board (as per usual).


Language Title Literal Meaning
Bulgarian Глинени крака Feet Of Clay
Czech Nohy z jílu Feet of Clay
Dutch Lemen voeten Feet of Loam
Estonian Savijalad Feet of Clay
Finnish Savijaloilla On Feet of Clay
French Pieds d'argile Feet of Clay
German Hohle Köpfe Hollow Heads
Italian Piedi d'Argilla Feet of Clay
Polish Na glinianych nogach On the Clay Feet
Russian Ноги из глины Feet of Clay
Serbian Glinene noge Feet of Clay
Spanish Pies de barro Feet of Clay
Swedish På lerfötter On Clay Feet


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