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Making Money (Discworld Novels)by Terry Pratchett
Making Money, the latest from Terry Pratchett, is now my favorite Discworld novel. It is funny, engaging, and satirical. Follow Moist von Lipwig, reformed con man, as he tries to drag the banking system into the Century of the Anchovy (the twenty-first century to you and me).
Synopses & Reviews
The Ankh-Morpork Post Office is running like...well, not at all like a government office. The mail is delivered promptly; meetings start and end on time; five out of six letters relegated to the Blind Letter Office ultimately wend their way to the correct addresses. Postmaster General Moist von Lipwig, former arch-swindler and confidence man, has exceeded all expectations — including his own. So it's somewhat disconcerting when Lord Vetinari summons Moist to the palace and asks, "Tell me, Mr. Lipwig, would you like to make some real money?"
Vetinari isn't talking about wages, of course. He's referring, rather, to the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork, a venerable institution that haas run for centuries on the hereditary employment of the Men of the Sheds and their loyal outworkers, who do make money in their spare time. Unfortunately, it costs more than a penny to make a penny, so the whole process seems somewhat counterintuitive.
Next door, at the Royal Bank, the Glooper, an "analogy machine," has scientifically established that one never has quite as much money at the end of the week as one thinks one should, and the bank's chairman, one elderly Topsy (née Turvy) Lavish, keeps two loaded crossbows at her desk. Oh, and the chief clerk is probably a vampire.
But before Moist has time to fully consider Vetinari's question, fate answers it for him. Now he's not only making money, but enemies too; he's got to spring a prisoner from jail, break into his own bank vault, stop the new manager from licking his face, and, above all, find out where all the gold has gone — otherwise, his life in banking, while very exciting, is going to be really, really short....
"Reprieved confidence trickster Moist von Lipwig, who reorganized the Ankh-Morpork Post Office in 2004's Going Postal, turns his attention to the Royal Mint in this splendid Discworld adventure. It seems that the aristocratic families who run the mint are running it into the ground, and benevolent despot Lord Vetinari thinks Moist can do better. Despite his fondness for money, Moist doesn't want the job, but since he has recently become the guardian of the mint's majority shareholder (an elderly terrier) and snubbing Vetinari's offer would activate an Assassins Guild contract, he reluctantly accepts. Pratchett throws in a mad scientist with a working economic model, disappearing gold reserves and an army of golems, once more using the Disc as an educational and entertaining mirror of human squabbles and flaws" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In the fractured cosmology of Terry Pratchett, Discworld appears as a flat, disc-shaped planet carried through space by four enormous elephants and a giant turtle named Great A'Tuin. On Discworld, magic and lunacy flourish in equal measure, propelled by a heterogeneous populace that includes dwarves, trolls, golems, werewolves, vampires, imps and humans. Out of these elements, Pratchett has fashioned... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) 36 novels in less than 25 years. (The first, 'The Color of Magic,' was published in 1983.) Individually, each one functions as a self-contained, often boisterously funny whole. Together, they constitute one of the most successfully sustained acts of comic creation since the heyday of P.G. Wodehouse. Over the years, a number of independent story lines have developed within the larger framework. These include stories of Sam Vimes and the City Watch ('Monstrous Regiment'), Granny Weatherwax and her coven of witches ('Wyrd Sisters') and the cowardly wizard Rincewind ('The Light Fantastic'). In 'Going Postal' (2004), Pratchett introduced a promising new protagonist, Moist von Lipwig, a professional confidence man who has made a lucrative career extracting money from the rich, the greedy and the gullible. When we first encounter him, Moist is in prison and about to be hanged. At the literal last minute, he receives a reprieve from Lord Havelock Vetinari, reigning tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, Discworld's principal city. Vetinari offers Moist what seems like an easy choice: Restore the city's moribund postal system to an acceptable level of efficiency or die. Moist, of course, chooses the first option, and becomes embroiled in a lethal web of plots and counterplots that could only happen on Discworld. Having successfully negotiated the pitfalls of the Ankh-Morpork civil service, Moist now makes a second, and very welcome, appearance in 'Making Money.' As the story begins, he finds himself unpleasantly becalmed. The postal system is running smoothly, he is now a respectable citizen, and one of his innovations — the adhesive stamp — has become a universal form of currency and has ushered in a wildly popular new hobby: stamp collecting. With so much going right, Moist grows increasingly despondent. Accustomed to life on the high wire, he finds himself mired in bureaucratic hell, attending endless meetings where 'people could use terms like 'core values' at him with impunity.' Once again, Lord Vetinari, master strategist and manipulator par excellence, comes to the rescue, offering Moist a new and challenging position: Master of the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork. Traditionally, the Master of the Mint also holds a senior post in the city's Royal Bank. This dual role gives Moist the authority to pursue Vetinari's latest agenda: revitalize an antiquated, dysfunctional banking system and drag Ankh-Morpork's ailing economy into the 21st century. Moist's ultimate goal may be clear, but the path to that goal is not. In typical Discworld fashion, problems arise from all points of the compass. First, there are the machinations of the increasingly deranged Cosmo Lavish, who plans to replace Lord Vetinari as the city's ruler and regain control of the bank and its assets. (For complex legal reasons, the chairmanship of the bank has passed to Mr. Fusspot, a dog with a fondness for plastic sex toys. Don't ask.) Other complications include the appearance of a blackmailer from Moist's shady past; the delicate emotional state of Mavolio Bent, indispensable chief cashier of the Royal Bank; and the disappearance of 10 tons of gold bullion from the Royal vault. The bullion, which provides the backing for Ankh-Morpork's spurious gold standard, has gone missing on Moist's watch, leaving him to face the legal and economic consequences. Much of the fun of 'Making Money' comes from watching Moist overcome these various obstacles through a combination of wit, guile and style. A veteran con man, Moist understands that style is virtually everything. Give the people a decent show and they'll follow you anywhere. Pratchett knows this, too, of course, and his romp through the labyrinth of high finance is typically outlandish fun, though there are a few bumps along the convoluted way. Pratchett can't resist building easy jokes around Moist's peculiar name. And occasionally, as in his description of a Cabinet of Curiosities with magical properties, the comic exposition goes on too long, impeding the narrative flow. But these are minor flaws in an otherwise polished, supremely confident performance. After all these years, Discworld remains one of popular fiction's most reliably demented venues. Like the best of its predecessors, 'Making Money' balances satire, knockabout farce and close observation of human — and nonhuman — foibles with impressive dexterity and deceptive ease. The result is another ingenious entertainment from the pre-eminent comic fantasist of our time." Reviewed by Bill Sheehan, who is the author of 'At the Foot of the Story Tree' and co-editor of the recent anthology 'Lords of the Razor', Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"After all these years, Discworld remains one of popular fiction's most reliably demented venues. Like the best of its predecessors, Making Money balances satire, knockabout farce and close observation of human — and non-human — foibles with impressive dexterity and deceptive ease. The result is another ingenious entertainment from the preeminent comic fantasist of our time." Bill Sheehan, The Washington Post Book World
"Lipwig is a brilliant scalawag of a hero, and Pratchett's taste for dry one-liners remains prodigious. Far from Pratchett's best, but entertaining nonetheless." Kirkus Reviews
"Moist von Lipwig seems destined to join the permanent rogue's gallery of unforgettable characters who have entertained readers through 31 adventures." Bookreporter.com
The revered international writer — one of the more significant contemporary English satirists (Publishers Weekly) — delivers another brilliantly clever Discworld novel filled with the trademark insight and humor readers the world over have come to expect.
About the Author
Terry Pratchett's novels have sold more than forty-five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. He lives in England.
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