on 23 October 2001
Before I read The Truth I had read the book, listened to the tape, seen the play or watched the video of every other discworld. Yes I am a fan. The Truth is my favourite to date, just snipping ahead of Men At Arms and Soul Music. The Truth has all the elements which makes Terry a brilliant author: great humour, good plot twists and clever parallells with the 'real' world.
William de Worde is the wealth rejecting son of an Ankh-Morpork noble. To earn a living he sends a news letter to various foreign dignitaries for $5 each. However an encounter with the discworld's first engraving press launches him into editing The Ankh-Morpork Times, which anyone can afford to buy. Along the way he is helped by an engraver's daughter, a vampire iconographer, who has a tendancy to crumble to dust whenever he takes a picture, and a man who wants William to print pictures of his humourous shaped vegetables. Things seem to be going well, untill William falls into trouble with the Engraver's Guild and the Patrician attacks his clerk. A plot's afoot. There's a new firm in town.
This is a must read for anyone who has even a minor interest in Terry Pratchett.
on 10 July 2003
25 novels in, it would be truly remarkable were Pterry to consistently produce surprises and laughs in the same measure of the heady early days of the Discworld. It becomes almost impossible to view each new addition to the canon objectively, but it is a measure of the series' success in that I still pounce upon each new paperback, and feel reunited with an old, safe friend. The Truth is no exception to the rule, but here, the once familiar streets and characters of Ankh Morpork are viewed through a different pair of eyes. The Watch, when taking centre stage in their own stories are seen as stoic upholders of the law, but here, under the pen of the Disc's first journalist, they appear more sinister, and not necessarily wholly on the side of justice. It's an interesting twist, and Pratchett's previous life with the press has helped inform a clever plot - never high on the belly laughs, but pleasantly distracting, nevertheless. Also mercifully absent was the rushed and confusing conclusion present in so many previous Discworld episodes. Here, the story unfolds with pace, and yet with a clarity of purpose that confirms Pratchett's grasp of the form. Others may bemoan the relative lack of clever puns and in-jokes, but the joy of The Truth lies in the realisation the scope that The Disc gives the author to explore themes and genres. Not classic Disc then, but a pleasant read, and yet another corner of fertile ground explored.
on 8 November 2000
Well, actually, I almost choked when reading this one. Kill or cure I guess! I read this one in about a day- I loved it that much!
Well, I must say this is -ing fantastic (whatever it was that -ing meant)! Pratchett has truly returned to form.
The Truth sees a number of new characters popping up out of the woodwork. William de Worde is the editor of the ankh morpork times , he didn't particularly want the job, he didn't even ask for it, but he got it anyway. He's also in a lot of trouble. The Engravers guild are after him, He's got people wanting pictures of their amusingly shaped vegetables in the paper and the watch are having him Watched. This is not turning out to be a very good day. What is more, Lord Vetinari seems to have attempted to murder his head clerk, and the only witness is a dog named Wuffles (16) who is nowhere to be found.
I really enjoyed this book. we get to see a lot of the characters who we have grown to love from a different point of view (ie. the watch) and they don't seem quite so nice.
a must read for all Discworld fans! I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone who has only just started reading them though as you have to know about some of the characters involved and there's a fair few 'in jokes', refering to previous books.
And remember: The truth shall make ye fred!
on 9 March 2001
So, we are up to number twenty five for the prolific Pratchett. I know that it is not very fashionable to like Terry Pratchett these days, but I love him. I have been reading him since book six, the excellent Macbeth, Hamlet hybrid Weird Sisters. I have read all of the Discworld novels, and apart from the rather dull small gods, I have found them all to be inventive and hilarious. Over the course of the years Terry really seems to have found his stride and the books get better and better.
I am pleased to relate that The Truth is on par with the best of them, using the background of his former profession, journalism. Pratchett has weaved a story of political intrigue with the musings of the role of the press.
The story concerns William de Worde, who makes a meagre living sending reports on the goings on in Ankh-Morpork to interested parties. This all changes when some dwarves turn up in the city, with the Discworld's first printing press. Next thing he knows, de Worde is the editor of the Ankh-Morpork times, and has a great story of murder...by the Patrician of the city, Vetinari.
The story reintroduces, my personal favourite, Sir Samuel Vimes, commander of the city watch, along with regular characters like Gaspode the talking dog. He also brings in new characters like a vampire, who keeps turning himself to dust via flash photography and two very familiar villains with a love of big Macs.
There are a number of diverse elements in the Truth, but is never seems contrived or forced. Which is the major strength of Terry's best novels. If you like Pratchett then you will love this. Terry's 25th is destined to become one of his most favoured books, and that's the Truth...
Terry Pratchett's 'mirror of worlds' is staring us right in the face. He wants us to take him and ourselves more seriously. Fantasy is on the decline on the Discworld, humour becoming more cynical and real-life issues reaching out to claim our attention. The origins of this trend aren't easy to pinpoint. Certainly all of the Sam Vimes series demonstrate it, with FEET OF CLAY and JINGO prominent in presenting us with the round world Discworld mirrors. This latest product of one of our world's more penetrating writers challenges us to look at ourselves closely. Which values do we truly subscribe to today?
Many who use Pratchett to escape from the realities of life will grizzle about this trend. This book is easily the least 'escapist' of any he's written. We are given a dedicated newsman who's challenged by business 'ethics'. A tabloid competitor emerges, offering readers glaring sensationalism, but false "news". Supplies of paper dry up, the press is demolished and survival of both the Ankh-Morpork Times and its publisher comes into question. This book isn't fantasy, it's history. It just happens to be Discworld's reflection of Round world's chronicle of business ethics. The only thing missing in this account is the "market survey" to assess what will sell to the population. Indeed, the most telling line in the book is Vetanari's comment that "people don't want news, they want olds" - the confirmation of what they already believe. "News" will simply cause people to think, and we all know how dangerous that is.
William de Worde's choice of "newsboys" an interesting touch. Foul Ol' Ron, the Duckman, and, in particular, Gaspode, purveying the A-M Times on the city's streets, would have been a memorable sight, but Pratchett pushes them into the background. Foul Ol' Ron as a reporter might have led the Times down an interesting path. The biggest news, however, is an almost murder. Vetanari is again placed in an unusual position for a City Manager, and the twists of that tale are Pratchett at his finest.
One thing missing in this book is the progeny expected by Sam Vimes and Sibyl at the end of FIFTH ELEPHANT. It's too soon for that in the Discworld timeframe, of course. Since Sam appears in this book, the image of Ol' Stoneface as a parent would have been priceless. Printing and spreading the news immediately called up anticpation of The Librarian making an appearance, but we have to do with Foul Ol' Ron instead - not a bad trade, just a small disappointment. Foul Ol' Ron might have been puffed a bit. After all, the only coherent expression he's uttered 'Queen Mary says to watch your back, mister' might well have been enlarged on here. Leaving all communication to Gaspode, who has his own agenda to follow.
Long-term fans of Pratchett shouldn't be disappointed that the light-hearted days of Rincewind and the Wyrd Sisters seem to be fading into the background. We should be glad he's still producing. Years ago in the US, a similar voice in the person of Tom Lehrer used humour to awaken Americans to some of their dearly-held follies. The election of Ronald Reagan drove Lehrer into retirement, a sad loss. That Pratchett is able to keep reminding us of who we are, and do it in such entertaining fashion, is a tribute to him and encouraging for us. He's telling us that he believes there's hope yet. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
on 10 March 2013
The Truth is an Ankh-Morpork centred novel about the arrival in the city of the printing press and the newspaper industry. I knew that some consider this a one of the lesser Discworld books and so I was prepared for it to be not that great. So maybe partly because of lower expectations I actually quite enjoyed it.
It was a little odd to have a story in which Vimes and Vetinari appeared but were not a huge part of the plot. There were a couple of new characters that seemed to be a bit over the top just for the sake of it. But I quite liked the protagonist, I liked his assistant/romantic interest and I enjoyed a couple of the other minor characters.
Two random immages occur frequently when reading a Terry Pratchett Discworld book. The first is of time lapse photography, the type used in nature or wildlife programs. One can see a seed planted, germinate, sprout, and then blossom into a flower in a manner of seconds even though it might take weeks to occur in `the real world'. The second is of a frog in a pot of water. It is a time worn cliché that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water it will leap out immediately. However, if you drop a frog into cool water and gradually bring it to a boil it won't think about jumping out until it is too late.
Pratchett has a marvelous habit of taking well known cultural icons or products that have developed over time in our word and subjecting them to the literary equivalent of time-lapse photography when he imports them into Discworld. Typically, those devices, be they guns, movies, or the modern postal system, are introduced and evolve very quickly. In presenting them wholly formed on Discworld Pratchett highlights the perversions these great inventions are subjected to over time that are not so readily apparent when you live through the gradual changes. The reader, like the frog, is presented with a proverbial pot of boiling water and, no doubt, on reflection must ask him or her self, how in the world did we ever let things go this far?
This is exactly what Pratchett does with the newspaper business in The Truth. Pratchett does his typically splendid job setting up the establishment of Ankh-Morpork's first newspaper by the aptly named William de Worde. The cast of characters includes Otto, the vampire photographer. Otto is fresh from the vampire equivalent of a 12-step program and struggles mightily to avoid a relapse.
Of course the press needs to have a juicy story. A crime has been committed and the Patrician, Lord Vetinari, is the prime suspect. It appears in fact to be something of an open and shut case. Of course, the truth is not always what it appears to be. De Worde soon comes to suspect that perhaps, just perhaps, the oligarchs that don't suffer Vetinari all that gladly may have something to do with all this.
Events wend their way to their inevitable conclusion. Will Commander Vimes be forced to `round up the usual suspects' or will de Worde uncover that elusive thing called the truth? Inquiring minds want to know!
The Truth is up to Pratchett's usually high standards and will be enjoyed by both Pratchett old timers and those new to Discworld.
on 5 April 2003
The 25th Discworld Novel, "The Truth" proves that the Discworld series is still going strong. "The Truth" is Pratchett's parody of the newspaper industry, with a healthy dose of politics to round out the mix. William de Worde, the not-so-hero and credited with the creation the Disc's first paper, is caught up in a political mystery in Ankh-Morpork that isn't all it seems. Featuring numerous references to real-life scandals (Watergate) and an excellent parody of the cut-throat world of print, as well as the standard Discworld silliness, "The Truth" is a hilarious look at our own world, turned on its edge, and spun around a bit. The characters are deep, and all prove funny in their own way. Otto, the vampire photographer who crumbles to dust each time he takes a picture, is a riot. Pratchett's characters usually never adhere to stereotypes in the fantasy or even detective genres, and if they do, they have something to say about it. Plot is well thought out and original, with plenty of twists and occasional red-herrings. Pratchett just seems to keep getting better as he goes; this is one of the Discworld books that stand out from the other twenty-five in the series. This book is brilliant, featuring plenty of cameos and references. If you are looking for a laugh, go no further than Terry Pratchett's "The Truth".
on 3 June 2004
This is the twenty-fifth book in Terry Pratchett's series on the Discworld--a flat world, supported on the back of four massive elephants riding on the back of a planet-sized turtle, anything hilarious can happen here, and eventually does. When William de Worde stumbles upon a group of dwarves setting up their new invention (a printing-press with movable type), he suddenly finds his little newsletter transformed into a giant, mass-market newspaper. But, when the Patrician of Anhk-Morpork is accused of murder, and the city goes up in an uproar, Mr. de Worde suddenly finds himself at ground zero. Strange things are happening, and Mr. de Worde finds that he has a master whom he must serve--the truth!
As always, Terry Pratchett is the master of telling a gripping story, where at time two and more storylines are running simultaneously, all without causing the least bafflement to the reader. I loved the characters, including a vampire on the wagon, a very serious zombie, several homicidal maniacs, Samuel Vimes, a load of armed and dangerous dwarves, and a secret informant known as...Deep Bone. This is another great Pratchett book, one that I recommend wholeheartedly.
on 6 January 2002
Until recently I had never read a copy of Terry Pratchett's books - I had always thought, looking at them, that they would not be my cup of tea. I know know the meaning of 'never judge a book by it's cover'
I had a long train journey to take and as usual had nothing to read and so picked up a copy just to get me through the day. May I now apologise to all of my fellow travellers who thought I was completely insane ! - I have never laughed out load a much in all my days. Pratchett appears to be a cross between Iain Banks and Doglas Adams - whilst still being truly unique.
Specifically, having been in the newspaper industry for 15 years, I found his descriptions delightful - especially his employment of street sellers. The Truth describes the birth and growth of the newpaper industry in a matter of days, whilst at the same time describing some real skullduggery at the top in Ankh Morpork
After reading this book I had no choice but to go out directly and start at book number 1 The Colour of Magic -I'm hooked!
PS If like my wife you have to sit on the M25 all day, try the tapes, Tony Robinson brings the books to life beautifully.