Saturday, 10 November 2001

Terry Pratchett: The Truth (2000)

Edition: Doubleday, 2000
Review number: 989

In about twenty years, Terry Pratchett has produced twenty five Discworld novels, of a fluctuating standard; The Truth, which is the twenty fifth, is one of the best of them. Several others share the plot device where an idea from our world leaks through to the Discworld to cause havoc - Hollywood in Moving Pictures, rock'n'roll in Soul Music, and now newspaper journalism in The Truth. It succeeds better than the earlier novels in this vein, because the humour is part of an interesting plot.

The newly emerged Ankh-Morporkh Times (slogan the wonderful misprint "The truth shall make ye fret") has a huge story almost as soon as its first issue. The ruler of the city, Lord Vetinari, appears to have killed his secretary, a most uncharacteristic action. The editor, William de Worde, is driven by his desire to find out the truth, while constantly distracted by people with funny shaped vegetables and a rival, National Enquirer style, tabloid.

The Truth manages to balance its plot with the need for jokes much more successfully than many other Pratchett novels, and introduces another memorable character in William de Worde to go with those from earlier in the series.

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