Making Money (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Review by Paul Haggerty
Harper Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061161643
Date: 01 September 2007 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Moist von Lipwig is an easy going soul. All he wants is the easy life. In Going Postal, Lord Vetinari gave Moist the choice of dying at the gallows (being a conman for most of his life seems to have caught up with him) or take on the assignment of bringing the Postal Service back to efficient operation. Despite universal disbelief in the possibility, backed up by the deaths of the last four men who attempted it, Moist was a complete success, though he had to pull off the impossible more than once. Now, having paid his debt to the city, Moist can rest on his successes and live the comfortable life ... until Lord Vetinari happens to mention that the Central Bank and Mint could really use some new blood.
While Making Money enjoys some of the same plot elements of its predecessor, namely taking Moist, throwing him in over his head, threatening his life, challenging him to do the impossible, and waiting to see how he'll make it all come out right in the end, that is actually only a small portion of the story. Having spent his life learning ways of getting money out of banks, Moist is a little unsure about just how to go about keeping the money in the bank. Meanwhile his girlfriend Adora Belle Dearheart (yes, just read that one out aloud), has plans and schemes of her own. Adora works passionately for the Golem Trust, an organization dedicated to rescuing Golems (intelligent statues made of clay) and setting them free from thousands of years of enslavement. And right now she's on the trail of a find of monumental importance. The fact that it will imperil Moist (and maybe all of Ankh-Morpork) is just a small detail that she needs to work out when she gets the chance.
Running at full tilt just to keep from falling behind, Moist struggles to deal with centuries of tradition, such as the coin makers taking their work home with them in the evenings, or the fact that the bank's chairman of the board is a dog named Mr. Fusspot. And of course, Moist is actively opposed by the previous guardians of the bank, which reject strenuously any attempt to limit their power (or their ability to skim money from the bank whenever they want). As usual, if Moist wants to get out of this alive, he's going to have to keep everybody involved off balance so they can't counterattack. Capitalizing on his experience with stamps, he tries rolling out paper money, a complete scandal in banking circles since there's no gold in it to make it worth anything more than a promise. And among that lot, promises aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Add in assassins, political intrigue, a old criminal colleague from Moist's past, and a mad scientist in the basement toying with a machine that just might be so perfect that it can change the reality it's intended to simulate, and you have more than enough plot lines to hang the comedy on.
As with all Pratchett's books, while the plot is important, it's the secondary characters and strange insights that make these books the gems they are. At one point Moist corners Owlswick Jenkins, who thinks Moist is there to arrest him and take him to prison. Owlswick attempting to hold Moist off by threating suicide has this exchange:
He snatched at Owlswick, who rammed the tube in his mouth. Moist tugged it out, pushing the forger's clammy little hands out of the way, and examined it.It's not until Owlswick makes his observation that your realize there was anything wrong with Moist's comment, and then your universe changes ever so slightly. This is a trademark of Pratchett's work and each book is filled with such observations, either in text, characterization, plot twists, or even just description.
So come delve into the offbeat, and yet strangely insightful world of Terry Pratchett. There's plenty to explore in the city of Anhk-Morpork and plenty of old friends to visit with. And if you haven't ready any of the Discworld books previously, then just think of all the friends you just haven't met with, but will certainly want to catch up with once you get the chance.
From: Barbara Breger