Book Review – The Truth

Title: The Truth
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Truth is a comic fantasy novel written by one of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett. It is the 25th novel in the Discworld series of novels.

The novel introduces “movable type” (the printing press) to the city of Ankh-Morpork. As a result, we see the foundation of its first newspaper. The results are, as is not news to Discworld fans, hilariously absurd. 

Our publisher and primary protagonist, William de Worde, learns that where there is a paper, there is always news. And that said “news” often includes things such as humorously shaped vegetables, political scandals and people’s fascination for irrelevant details such as the ages of interviewees.  


The book explores the nature and roles of journalism in society. We explore the nature of both good and bad journalism. It explores the importance of freedom of speech and journalistic issues such as sensationalism, censorship and libel.

The book presents a look at the worst kind of journalism. We see how some people rarely think rationally when presented with this kind of poor journalism.

It also explores various ways journalism can influence politics, for both the better and worse. In doing so, it frequently references the Watergate Scandal. 

We also learn the incredible power of the truth.


The primary protagonist of his novel is William de Worde. With the help of the dwarf, Gunilla Goodmountain, he establishes Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper. 

On his staff is a woman reporter, a reformed vampire with a suicidal interest in flash photography and an army of dwarves required to run the printing press. 

The main villains are the duo of the New Firm and the zombie lawyer, Mr. Slant. The New Firm is an interesting duo of villains. However, I found elements of their characterization slightly distracting. 

Mr. Tulip is a mindless killer. He is always consuming some allegedly (but usually harmless) substance that he thinks will destroy his few remaining brain cells. And yet, he has a great eye for fine things. 

Mr. Pin is the brain of the New Firm. He has a cold, calculating mind of a very mindful killer. 

Mr. Slant is the sort to never let a minor thing, such as being dead, stop him from meddling in the legal affairs of the city. He is not a fan of the Patrician. Even though it must be said, the rule of the Patrician is at least predictably despotic. 

Existing fans of Discworld will enjoy the return of several fan favorites. Such as Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, Captain of the Watch Vimes, the Patrician and Gaspode.

 Book cover for "The Truth".
My favorite version of the cover of the book.

The Good

It is a hilarious look at its very important and interesting themes. It is often delightfully absurd, almost always hilarious and very often thought-provoking. The humor is very well-written and relatable, no matter your familiarity with Discworld, or fantasy. 

While it is absurd, it tackles serious themes intelligently. It presents a look at good and bad journalism and successfully makes you think about what role journalism should have in society. 

The new characters in this book are very interesting. William de Worde’s passion and dedication to the truth are inspiring. I enjoyed the character of Otto, the vampire that has sworn off blood and who acts as a flash photographer. 

It is great to see cameos from fan favorites such as Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, the Patrician and various members of the Watch. 

Gaspode makes a welcome reappearance for the second Discworld book in a row (he had a major role in The Fifth Elephant). 

The book handles the frequent political themes of this book very well. The political parts of this book are hilarious and not at all boring. Pratchett writes very compelling political humor and some of these sections are among the most interesting in the entire book.

The Bad

Some may consider the book a little slow-paced in places. I did not find this to be a serious issue. 

I thought the ending was a little rushed, although I still enjoyed it. The presentation of a few details could have been clearer. 

I thought some of the interpersonal character threads were left hanging. 

One of the main characters, the woman reporter, Sacharissa Crisplock is underdeveloped (hence why I have had not much to say about her).

While she plays an important and interesting role in the book, I think she was not a very well-developed character. 


The Truth is an excellent and hilarious read! You do not have to be a fan of Discworld to appreciate its humor, but if you are, you will appreciate it all the more! 

It has something intelligent to say about its themes and the plot explores this in a very interesting and creative way. 

The plot is excellent. It has minor pacing issues, and a slightly rushed ending that leaves a few threads dangling. However, the conclusion is very satisfying. 

If you like Discworld, then this is a must-read. If you love comic fantasy, then this is highly recommended. It is also highly recommended for any fans of fantasy or thought-provoking comedy.

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