The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Review by Ellen
I am a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels so I knew I had to review one of the series. It took me a while to decide which book to go for; after all they are all pretty much fantastic. After much deliberating I’ve gone with the book that got me hooked on Discworld in the first place, The Truth.
This was not my first foray into Discworld, I’d tried the beginning of the series, The Colour of Magic, a year or so before, but although it was fine I didn’t rush to read more. Having read the whole series now I don’t think it’s Pratchett’s best work. The Truth, on the other hand, had me laughing out loud from the word go and I haven’t looked back.
The Discworld books each have a theme, which Pratchett looks upon from his delightfully comic yet perceptive viewpoint. The Truth is about journalism and as a former local newspaper reporter it hit home. Pratchett’s journalistic past shone through, making me think, “yes that is what it’s like…bizarre isn’t it?” The story follows William de Worde who starts the city of Ankh Morpork’s first newspaper, more accidentally than otherwise, and becomes hooked on feeding the never ending mouth of the printing press with news. William is determined to find the truth behind a mysterious crime involving the deposition of the city’s ruler, Lord Vetinari, which is not as it seems. Each day he painstakingly digs up the truth and reveals it to the readers of Ankh Morpork, only to discover that they are really far more interested in the small piece about a humorously shaped parsnip and whether it really is the coldest winter in living memory!
Sitting around the breakfast table, William’s fellow boarders are convinced the paper is written by some kind of higher being and take it as gospel purely because “they” have been allowed to print it, when all the while it is just him and his assistant, Sacharissa, working in their back office cubbyhole.
The Truth is a brilliant parody of life as a local news reporter, which will appeal to ex-journalists and breakfast time readers alike. It is a fantastic insight into human nature and it got me truly addicted to Discworld, for which I will be forever grateful.