Thursday, February 28, 2008

Review: The Truth

Terry Pratchett is strangely witty--that's the best way I can think to describe his novel, The Truth. Published in 2000, this work of Pratchett is a great commentary on politics and news reporting of its time (and possibly the future).

The Truth is a fantasy novel that really has little to do with the fantasy world and more to do with social commentary and the search for the truth. It possesses all the fantasy elements--dwarfs, vampires, trolls, wizards, zombies, and the like--but only uses them in comic situations (or when poking fun at fantasy stories).

Pratchett's novel revolves around William de Worde, a man who is hired to write a brief newsletter every now and again for the elite citizens of Ankh-Morpork. His life changes drastically when some dwarfs turn lead into gold in a sense. Before encountering the dwarf Goodmountain, the newsletter was simply engraved and printed. The dwarfs use the lead to make movable type for a printing press--and the Ankh-Morpork Times is born. However, the engravers decide that de Worde's paper is a threat to their livelihood, and open a competing paper, The Inquirer, which simply runs stories that false yet interesting for the local populace.

The Times begins its life just as a devious plot to frame and unseat Patrician Vetinari unfolds. The plot involves outsiders, Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip, being paid to do the deed by whatever means necessary. De Worde finds himself in the middle of the scandal of Ankh-Morpork, frantically attempting to write the truth for the public to read.

Terry Pratchett's prose is witty and humorous--there are moments of brilliant insight and outright laughter. This is a work of fantasy that will appeal to aficionados of the genre as well as those who would rather not read book filled with dwarfs and vampires.


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