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The Truth

Terry Pratchett

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (3 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Victor Gollancz

Published : 2000

Copyright : Terry & Lyn Pratchett 2000

ISBN-10 : HB 0-385-60102-6
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-385-60102-3

Publisher's Write-Up

The truth will out, or at least it's going to try to, any minute. New printing technology means that words just won't obediently stay nailed down like usual. They can now be taken apart and used to make other words. Which is downright dangerous. There's a very real threat of news getting out there. Of people finding out what's really going on. And the powers that be aren't happy - they want that to be far from the truth.

If they are to call a halt to this madness of free speech, they may have to succumb to their despotic tendencies. But will they, in this brave new world, still be able to have the last word?

William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life - people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.

William just wants to get at The Truth. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. And it's only the third edition...

'Other writers are mining the rich seam of comic fantasy that Pratchett first unearthed, but what keeps Pratchett on top is - quite literally - the way he tells them.'

The Times

'The Truth is an unmitigated delight and very, very funny... The pace is compelling but he never lets his tale descend into simple farce.'

The Times

' Discworld has the energy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the inventiveness of Alice in Wonderland..Terry Pratchett has an intelligent wit and a truly original grim and comic grasp of the nature of things.'

A.S. Byatt, Sunday Times
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Vex (010602) Rating (8/10)
Review by Chrissi (011201) Rating (8/10)
Review by Nigel (280201) Rating (9/10)

Review by Vex
Rating 8/10
Terry is back on form with this, the 25th Discworld novel. I've felt that some of the more recent novels have been a little stale, as if Terry was perhaps getting bored with the Discworld, but this one is full of the great humour and warped ideas we've come to expect.

I'll not go into the story, as Nige and Chrissi have done so already, I'll just say that you really should get this, it's great!
Vex (1st June 2002)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
Nigel was really sold on this book, saying that this was his favourite Discworld story, unfortunately I do not agree. I am not saying that I did not enjoy it, far from it, it was as good as many of the others, just for me, not as good as I was expecting.

The Truth is about the first Printing Press, and the Newspapers that develop in Ankh-Morpork as a result. William de Worde is a writer, of the old family of de Wordes, but having been disinherited because of his feelings. He earns his money by writing a small news sheet that he sends to people that may be interested to know things around the Discworld . Usually he writes one each month, which he then has engraved backwards onto a woodblock, which he then uses to print the few that he needs to post.

His life is changed somewhat when he is hit on the head by a new dwarfish device, which allows you to print words and then reuse the same letters to print new words! The wizards are apparently not very impressed with this idea because they think that the letters have some kind of memory and will get themselves mixed up when the words try to write themselves. For example, if letters are used to print a guide to poisons, and then rearranged to do a cookbook, you may have lots of people with tummy ache. They believe this because the books in the Unseen University library have (of sorts) minds of their own, and have to be restrained appropriately.

All of the bits that you would expect to be in a newspaper are there, from Photographers to gossip and human-interest stories. But in this case it is all more "Drop the Dead Donkey" than the "Times". Do you remember the advertising slogan for a red-top Sunday paper - "All Human Life Is There"? Well, strangely enough it is, and as you may expect, Dibbler is there, figuring out ways to make his money which are not sausage-product-based, we also meet a Vampire photographer who disintegrates when the salamanders flash, at the most inopportune times. There are also a full compliment of dwarves and people with interesting shaped vegetables.

But it would not be complete without a rival newspaper, I can hear you say, and just to stop William from getting the marketplace all to himself, the engravers guild who would have been put out of business by the dwarves printing press, set up their own newspaper, and a feud commences, one led by made up news, the more extraordinary the better, and the other printing real stories, with a little human interest thrown in to stop them from being a bit dry. Circulation figures are paramount in this war of words...

Now, I have to say that there are some absolute gems in this story, for example, when Gaspode is trying to communicate with William as an informant, and he has to use foul ole Ron and his friends to get his information across. It all involves the Discworld's first exposé which is just desperate to be written, and William is just desperate to write it, once he figures out what is going on.

The Watch are there, trying to find out what is happening. The trouble is no one is giving them any information anymore (why would they when they can go to the papers) which is driving them all potty, and if you cannot arrest people for just being annoying then what is the point of the job?

Nigel has said that I am reading the Discworld series at the same speed Mr. Pratchett is writing them, and that I will not be able to catch up, unfortunately this month he is right, and so I shall try to do better next month. Otherwise he will keep making his comments...
Chrissi (1st December 2001)

Review by Nigel
Rating 9/10
William De Worde makes an honest, and somewhat lucrative, living writing things for people. He publishes a small newsletter about the goings on in Ankh-Morpork, with a circulation of five. He also provides writing and reading services for the less well... err, educated. As the sign says, 'William De Worde: Things Written Down'.

This all changes however with the arrival of some Dwarfs and a printing press, which technically speaking is illegal in Ankh-Morpork because, according to the Patriarch, knowledge is a dangerous thing... and he should know.

This is one of Terry Pratchett's better Discworld novels. The whole 'history' of Journalism is covered as 'The Ankh-Morpork Times' becomes better known and competition arrives in the form of The Enquirer (with stories that are hard to believe... but must be true because 'there in the paper…why would they write about it if it's not true?')

As with the last few Discworld novels the story is based around a who-done-it mystery in which the Patriarch is discredited (thrown in jail for murder actually) and chaos is about to reign. The City Watch and William set out to unravel the puzzle and learn 'The Truth'.

As always there are oblique references to our modern day world to make you laugh…watch out for the pulp fiction bits and the Dis-organiser MKII, which is absolutely brilliant…here are the welcome words from the 'manual':

'Bingely-bingely beep!' The imp gave a nervous cough. 'Good for you!' it said. 'You have wisely purchased the Dis-organizer Mk II, the latest in biothaumaturgic design, with a host of useful features and no resemblance whatsoever to the Mk I which you may have inadvertently destroyed by stamping on it heavily!' it said, adding, 'This device is provided without warranty of any kind as to reliability, accuracy, existence or otherwise or fitness for any particular purpose and Bioalchemic Products specifically does not warrant, guarantee, imply or make any representations as to its merchantability for any particular purpose and furthermore shall have no liability for or responsibility to you or any other person, entity or deity with respect to any loss or damage whatsoever caused by this device or object or by any attempts to destroy it by hammering it against a wall or dropping it into a deep well or any other means whatsoever and moreover asserts that you indicate your acceptance of this agreement or any other agreement that may he substituted at any time by coming within five miles of the product or observing it through large telescopes or by any other means because you are such an easily cowed moron who will happily accept arrogant and unilateral conditions on a piece of highly priced garbage that you would not dream of accepting on a bag of dog biscuits and is used solely at your own risk.' The imp took a deep breath. 'May I introduce to you the rest of my wide range of interesting and amusing sounds, Insert Name Here?'

Did you read it all? No? That's why you have a crap stereo :)

Some of the funniest bits running through the book are the covers of The Times as they are printed for each edition... spot the errors..they will have you in stitches.

All in all one of Terry Pratchett's better Discworld novels. If you have been getting a bit bored and haven't bothered with the last few read this one... it has all the old magic.
Nigel (28th February 2001)

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