Book review: “The Truth” by Terry Pratchett

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The 25th title in the popular Discworld series is called The Truth, and to tell the truth, I enjoyed it thoroughly. In the tradition of Moving Pictures and Soul Music, it introduces a new hero who, in turn, introduces a new pop-culture art form into the fragile reality of Ankh-Morpork. Unlike those two prior instances, however, the journalist with the movable-type printing press who introduces the concept of a daily newspaper does NOT end up opening a rift into the Dungeon Dimensions and letting out some kind of hideous entity from the beyond.

By this time the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork has learned to expect such unexpected outcomes from seemingly innocent yet disruptive enterprises like the Daily Times. And he warns young journalist William de Worde that he will be held personally responsible if a rift in reality is created. And having anticipated this disaster, naturally it is nipped in the bud.

Instead what happens is the Patrician himself is framed for murder, and it falls to young William (who feels obligated to tell the Truth at all times) to get to the bottom of it, in spite of the ill-feeling of various guilds and powerful members of the community, the ambivalence of Commander Vimes of the City Watch, and the truly frightening evil of Messrs. Pin and Tulip, who (in an interesting passage) are revealed to be neither murderers nor assassins but, far worse, killers. (Interested? Read the book!)

What de Worde has on his side is a beautiful girl named Sacharissa, a printing press run by dwarves, and a cutting-edge photojournalist who also happens to be a reformed vampire (a lovely fellow named Otto who talks with a German accent, takes part in a 12-step program to break his blood addiction, and crumbles into dust every time he takes a flash picture, which at first is rather inconvenient for him). Oh, yes, and also Foul Ole Ron’s bunch of looney street bums, Gaspode the talking dog (who turns confidential informant named “Deep Bone”), and a troll named Rocky who wants to be a sportswriter.

It’s actually a quite exciting adventure, with lots of fun thrown in: like swear-words toned down to family language (one character goes around saying “—ing” all the time, and everyone wonders what the heck “ing” is supposed to mean; and another character warns that someone is going to go “Librarian poo,” if you catch my drift).

William makes another appealing hero who has the additional appeal of showing Vimes & Co. from a different point of view. It’s another good installment in the series, and I look forward to future titles!

Recommended Age: 14+