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Qu is the slightly plump and amiable technician and gadget supplier to the History Monks. His devices include many different weapons based on using manipulation of time to kill the enemies. Most of them have a tendency to explode.

His inventions include a begging bowl/shuriken which explodes about seven seconds after impact with an object, a prayer drum with a hidden knife and garrotte (plus it can also be used to pray with), Exploding Mandala powder, and the emergency portable procrastinators used by Lobsang Ludd and Lu-Tze after the activation of the second Glass Clock. Some of his gadgets are remarkably like Q's (see annotation, below), and also incorporate a little computer-gaming in them too. He offers time bombs - not where you set them to go off at a specific time, but rather when they explode they slow time to a crawl.

He is an inveterate tinkerer and never happier than when making people explode in ingenious ways, which sets him a little at odds with Lu-Tze who thinks there are better things to do with people.

Qu also has a perpetual worry - being found out by the abbot. He is terrified that his portable procrastinators may be discovered, and also dislikes running two concurrent time-streams during the events of Night Watch in case they are found out.

Character annotation[]

Qu resembles the armorer at James Bond's "Universal Export", whose code name is "Q". Whilst this Q is often exasperated by Bond's tendency to lose or misuse his inventions, it is the field operatives of the History Monks like Lu-Tze who need to worry about Qu's sometimes temperamental and dangerous devices. Q in the Roundworld was based on Charles Fraser-Smith, whose book has this blurb:

Compasses hidden inside buttons, hollowed-back hairbrushes containing maps and 9-centimetre ridged-back saws, handkerchiefs with maps in invisible ink printed on them, chessmen filled with special inks for forging documents, playing cards lined with silk-tissue maps - these and many others were the gadgets that Charles Fraser-Smith produced and supplied to secret agents, saboteurs, partisans, escaping prisoners, commandos and SAS during the Second World War.