{4.5/5} “There had been a noise like someone making no noise at all. Forget peas and mattresses — sheer natural selection had established over the years that the royal families that survived longest were those whose members could distinguish an assassin in the dark by the noise he was clever enough not to make, because, in court circles, there was always someone ready to cut the heir with a knife.”

Mort by Terry Pratchett, published in 1987

Mort waited at the market until everyone else was gone for someone to take him on as an apprentice. Eventually someone does come — it’s Death. Mort goes with him, and he’s in for an adventure he couldn’t dream of. Death takes him to his realm, where the only other two people are Albert, the elderly servant and Ysabell, Death’s adopted daughter. Death takes Mort along when he’s “on duty” to show him the ropes, and then one day he decides Mort can do it on his own.

This gives you an idea of what the world of Mort is like, from the inside cover: “It is a flat disc carried on the backs of four elephants astride a giant turtle floating through space.” Light moves leisurely, magic is possible, and Death — an anthropomorphic personification, as he says himself — helps people along from this world to the next.

Terry Pratchett is a fabulous writer — it’s a joy to read his well-crafted and clever sentences. This book is funny. Not as funny as The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (please don’t watch the 2005 movie version) or Modern Family, but still — very amusing.

I read the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, years ago — it was OK but not great. Mort is another Discworld novel — I read this particular one because it was on the list. I also read Good Omens by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman not too long ago — that one’s 5/5.

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