“The dwarfs found out how to turn lead into gold by doing it the hard way. The difference between that and the easy way is that the hard way works.”
Hello again, Constant Reader! I do apologise for my unexplained absence – I was, you see, on a holiday visit to the Book Depository. And there is nothing like a visit to the Book Depository for meeting with an Old Friend from Discworld-land.
The Truth was, for a while, my favourite of the Discworld novels (it was supplanted, quite recently, by The Last Hero). It follows William de Worde, self-disowned nobleman, as he invents the Disc’s first newspaper in the sprawling city of Ankh-Morpork.
It features, among other things, a talking dog, an art-loving thug, a reformed vampire and Ankh-Morpork. In fact, Ankh-Morpork alone is a good enough reason to read The Truth. It’s like Victorian London, only more deadly, more smelly and altogether more interesting. It has every fantasy race you might ever want to meet, as well as some others you wouldn’t: dwarfs, trolls, imps, gargoyles, gnolls, Death…
…and, of course, humans. Ankh-Morpork is truly cosmopolitan.
If I’m perfectly honest with myself, the actual plot of The Truth isn’t among the most gripping of the Discworld novels. But the plot isn’t, for me, the point any more. It’s the tone – the jokes, the wry asides, the slightly skewed way of seeing the world that Pratchett does so well – and the world and the people. It’s a way of visiting a place that is endlessly fascinating, alien and yet strangely familiar, where the world works like a story and justice actually happens. Eventually.
It’s also nice to see so many characters from former books popping up for a cameo. Commander Vimes, Carrot and Angua, Gaspode the Wonder Dog, Foul Ole Ron, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, the Bursar, and, of course, Vetinari all wander across the pages at some point or another. Basically, The Truth has everything you want in a Pratchett novel.
Apart from a good plot, of course. And Granny Weatherwax.