Making Money is the 36th book in Terry Pratchett’s unforgettable Discworld series.
As with the majority (though certainly not all) of the series, the action is centered around the city of Ankh-Morpork and features the second appearance of Moist Von Lipwig as the central character. His first appearance being as the newly appointed Postmaster General in Going Postal.
This time around, Moist is tasked with renewing the fortunes of the Bank of Ankh-Morpork which has long been sliding into disarray under its incumbent owners.
Suffice to say that nothing really goes to plan for Moist, even when he thinks that he has a plan!
This book is a cracking read and a great example of the adroit manner in which Pratchett approaches his subjects in his later books.
Moist himself is a former conman, granted a reprieve provided that he work for the public good. This presents a fascinating character that is happy to act immorally and certainly illegally, but believes himself to be a good person.
One of my favourite aspects of Pratchett’s writing has always been the manner in which he grows his characters. His books typically take place in a short span of time, but taken across the series you get to see men’s fortunes rise and fall with the events that take place across the Discworld. Never can this be seen more clearly than when his tales take place in Ankh-Morpork.
The beauty of his world is that all his characters interact, often with the protagonists of other stories. Commander Vimes of the city watch features heavily, first introduced as a lowly Lance-Corporal in Guards Guards, along with interactions with The Ankh-Morpork Times (The Truth), the Golem Trust (from events in Feet of Clay) and a whole host of others.
The subject of his satirism this time around is clearly the banking system. Without ever being overt in his intentions, Pratchett clearly decries the use of a gold standard basis for our banking system, casts the blame for failing banks at the feet of the owners rather than the changing economy and envisages them as gigantic relics of a foregone age, unsuited to the revolutionary new world that is rising in Ankh-Morpork.
More importantly than this, he manages to do this while telling an interesting, exciting and amusing story.
As with all the Discworld books, I would recommend that the series is read from the start in order to fully appreciate the world that Pratchett has managed to create. However, if the prospect of reading 35 books before getting to this is a bit daunting then at least take the time to read Going Postal, the first Moist Von Lipwig book, before this.
There is no doubt that Pratchett only improved as he wrote and this is a fine example of his later work.
Reviewed by PD Richmond
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