Mort (1987) – Terry Pratchett

This week, I dug into another Discworld novel for the Book Shelf. And I’ve said it before, but I’m glad I waited until now to read them, I wouldn’t have appreciated them, and their wonderful humour when they were originally released. And now, I also don’t have to wait a year or two for the next instalment, I just have to wait for the next one to be available from the library.

Mort follows, well Mort (short for Mortimer, but also pronounced the French and Italian word for dead, morte), a young man, who is a little awkward is of an age when he is ready to be apprenticed to a job. Unfortunately no one shows up, until the final stroke of midnight, and Death shows up to take him on.

From there, Mort is spirited away to Death’s realm to learn his craft, he meets Death’s daughter, Ysabell, his servant, Albert, and horse, Binky. From there, Death gives Mort a bit of training and sends him out one night to do a job, giving Death the night off.

Death finds he’s enjoying his time off, and Mort becomes more Death-like as he digs into the job. Unfortunately, he also mucks it up a little, when he stops a Princess, Keli, from being assassinated in her bedchamber by one of her uncle’s, hired swords.


Rescuing her, causes a breach in the fabric of reality, and creates a discworld where she’s still alive, and one where she’s dead. But Keli’s reality is collapsing around her and Mort is determined to save her, though if logic was around, it wasn’t, he would learn that history would then set itself right since it was already figured out.

But there’s a love story, an appearance by Rincewind, and so much hilarity that I found myself laughing aloud a number of times. The discworld books I’ve delved into so far are not overly long, and has wonderful wordplay, incredibly funny moments, and all because for the most part Pratchett’s characters play the situations as straight as they can.

I love the way the story plays out, and as much as I enjoy the character of Rincewind (he’s pretty damned hilarious in his cowardly behaviour), Death is fast becoming my favourite recurring character as anytime he shows up you know someone is going to die, but damn something really funny is gonna be said or happen as well.

The story plays out perfectly allowing Mort a happy ending, and Death resuming his proper role in the universe, as discworld, atop four elephants, which in turn stand atop the giant spacefaring turtle, continues onward across the universe.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Sorcery.


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