The Truth by Terry Pratchett. ★★★★
The Truth is book twenty-fifth in the Discworld series and a stand alone. Although characters from other novels appear, it largely focuses on new characters.
William de Worde sends out a monthly newsletter to foreign royalty, but when a group of dwarfs brings a printing press to Ankh-Morpork, William becomes editor in chief of Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper, the Ankh-Morpork Times. With a plot underway to take down Vetinari, it is up to the Times to use some investigative journalism to find the truth.
Obviously, The Truth deals with the idea of truth and the value placed on it. Sometimes it seems that nobody cares about the truth, because a lie is more convenient or maybe just more interesting. But isn’t it important that the truth is out there?
“Someone has to care about the… the big truth.”
William is the son of Lord de Worde but has fallen out with his father and now lives on his own, making money off his words. However, William’s background still has a huge effect on his character. He can try to change himself, but he can’t completely erase his background. This works to make William both a flawed but interesting protagonist.
I also love the supporting cast. The Truth features both Vimes and Vetinari, who are both wonderful. Then there’s a couple new characters introduced who are employees of the Times – Sacharissa and Otto. I particularly love Otto, a vampire photographer who crumbles into dust whenever he uses the flash.
“We’ve always been privileged, you see. Privilege just means ‘private law.’ That’s exactly what it means. He just doesn’t believe the ordinary laws apply to him. He really believes they can’t touch him, and that if they do he can just shout until they go away.”
The group of “concerned citizens” out to remove Vetinari are doing so largely out of a sense that the city is no longer “our sort of people” and a desire to get back to the “good old days.” Another large part of The Truth is dealing with this sort of prejudice.
“William wondered why he always disliked people who said “no offense meant.” Maybe it was because they found it easier to say “no offense meant” than actually to refrain from giving offense.”
From a plot wise perspective, it’s easy to figure out who’s behind the attempt to remove Vetinari. The fun comes in seeing how the staff of the Times reacts to the challenges thrown there way.
The Truth is a delightful entry into the Discworld series, if not one of my favorite. I would recommend it to anyone looking to try the series, particularly if you have more than a passing interest in journalism.