Continuing my occasional series as I work my way through the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s delightful Discworld series, one novel at a time.
Today’s entry is on the 36th novel, Making Money.
First Apperances: the golems of the lost city of Um
Introduced to Discworld: paper money
Plot: Moist von Lipwig is getting bored with the Post Office. Sneaking out at night just to make sure he still can could get him killed by his own employees, and his usual requirements for danger, fiancé Adora Belle Dearheart, is out of town on another golem retrieval mission.
Patrician Havelock Vetinari knows about this. He makes it his business to know everything. As a result, he arranges for Moist, against his will, to take control of the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork. The old lady that ran it didn’t want her evil step kids getting their hands on it, not her stepson Cosmo who wants to be Lord Vetinari (not Patrician…he wants to literally be Lord Vetinari), or Cosmo’s obnoxious idiot sister Pucci. The old lady married into a family full of greedy, litigious monsters, and she knows better than to let them control the bank. So, she left the whole thing to her dog and the dog to Moist and paid the Assassins Guild to kill Moist if the dog died of something other than natural causes.
Moist has plans, real plans, but when a figure from his past who knows he used to be a con man and all the gold is missing from the vault, there must be a way to avoid the hangman’s noose a second time…
Commentary: Pratchett had settled into a comfortable formula by now. Toss some bad guys with weird habits in, make sure the hero gets by on smarts instead of brawn, and have an Igor around. Everything else is the usual gang of eccentrics.
Moist has too much to deal with, but after fixing the Post Office and the clacks system, the people of the city believe in him. That seems odd, since the litigious and murderous Lavish family are used to getting their own way, but all the odds are on Moist to win.
He does, of course, thanks in part to Adora Belle returning to the city with her chain-smoking sarcasm and BS detector ways. Her trip to find the world’s oldest golems was a little too successful, but it takes Moist to figure things out. He’s good at that.
A bit of fun was found with the chief cashier at the bank, one Mr. Bent. Though the book hints heavily that he is a vampire, it turns out he isn’t. What he is actually is a pretty good joke, so I won’t ruin it here.
Most of the book deals with Moist basically pointing out gold is only as valuable as people think it is, so if people think something is valuable, his new paper money system would be just as valuable as gold. It takes people time to come to that conclusion, but they generally do. And with enemies converging all around him, and a dog with a vibrating sex toy in his mouth for no reason, plus a golem who thinks it is a she and demanding feminist ideals of the half-assed variety, Moist finds the best weapon in his arsenal, one he’s never needed to use before, is to simply tell the truth when he’s on trial at the end. Of course it works. The people of Ankh-Morpork mostly love a good story, and they hate the Lavishes, so everything works out well.
Well, until Vetinari gives Moist a new job Moist can’t refuse. The elderly taxman is apparently getting on in years…
NEXT BOOK: What Americans call soccer (but the rest of the world calls football) is just as big on the Disc as it is in the real world (except the United States). But the one thing it has never been is an organized sport. That’s about to change, and Unseen University is fielding a team in the next book, Unseen Academicals. Be back for that one soon.
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents