Mort is the fourth book in the Discworld series, and the great man was really hitting his stride. Mort(imer) is a young, gangly, lad with few job prospects – so few that, at the apprentice’s market, he ends up the only unhired job applicant. Fortunately (or not), Death is looking for an apprentice as he’s grown rather tired of the family business. We’re introduced to Death’s servant, Albert (who, it turns out has a very interesting past) and his adopted daughter Ysabel. But, of course, things don’t go smoothly – not least because the naive young Mort isn’t entirely happy with ending the lives of those he thinks don’t deserve it. Especially one pretty young princess of Sto-Lat.

Overall, the best so far. Death is a genius character and yet another example of Pratchett thinking “what if?” – what if Death was fed up with his job? What if he took on an apprentice?

“It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said. “Have you thought of going into teaching?”

I found this, ironically, a breath of fresh air. No wizards. For some reason, I didn’t read this one during my first run through the Discworld books. I only got into them at Witches Abroad and then began at the beginning but skipped this – it’s a pity as I enjoyed it.

Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.

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