- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (April 1 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552131067
- ISBN-13: 978-0552131063
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mort Paperback – Apr 1 1989
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• The first seven Discworld titles are being reissued with stunning new covers, publication coincides with 21 years of Discworld anniversary and the hardback publication of The Celebrated Discworld Almanak and Going Postal.
• "Like Jonathan Swift, Pratchett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent... incredibly funny... compulsively readable." --The Times
• "His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction." --Mail on Sunday
• "The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences." --A.S. Byatt, New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
"A sequence of unalloyed delight"
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Top Customer Reviews
Death - tall guy, somewhat underfed, big grin, carries a scythe - appears in more Discworld books than any other character. However, "Mort" is the first where his appearance in anything other than a very brief cameo - though, admittedly, he remains one of the book's support characters. The book's hero is Mort, the youngest son of a farming family living on the Ramtops. He doesn't quite have the look of a typical hero : although tall and overly-helpful, he's also red-haired, freckled and largely built from knees. His family specialises in distilling wine from reannual grapes - you plant the seed this year and harvest the grape last year. (With the wine, you tend to get the hangover the morning before and need to drink quite a lot to get over it). Mort's lack of talent in the agricultural field (boom boom !), however, is causing some concern for his father. Hoping someone will hire him as an apprentice, Lezek takes his son to the hiring fair at Sheepridge on Hogswatch Night. Although Mort is the last one hired, he is probably the most aptly named apprentice - given that his new boss is Death himself.
Despite Mort's initial discomfort with the position - he doesn't have to be dead himself and the bones look is entirely optional - he decides to accept the position. Death also makes it clear he doesn't do the killing himself - that's up to assassins and soldiers, for example - he just takes over when people die. (He has, however, been known to murder a curry). Life (if that's what you call it) with Death is very strange. His home is designed, unsurprisingly, in varying shades of dark and is much bigger on the inside than on the outside. He also has a daughter called Ysabell and a butler called Albert - both human and not just skeletons - and a horse called Binky. All are also very much alive. The problems start when Mort starts shadowing his new boss at work - specifically, when they are due to escort King Olerv of Sto-Lat into the afterlife. The King has just been assassinated by his ambitious cousin the Duke of Sto-Helit. Unfortunately, Princess Keli is next on the Duke's hitlist and Mort's youthful hormones aren't too happy about this. As soon as Mort starts interfering, other questions start coming to mind - like where does Death get a daughter and why does he need an apprentice ?
Despite his profession, Death is one of the funniest characters on the Discworld. Although it's the first book to give him a starring role, it may prove a slight advantage to have read one or two of the other books. (Rincewind is a particular hobby of Death's so "The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic may be worth looking into). Very highly recommended.
This is a riotously funny novel. I can truly say that Death has never been funnier. Being the reaper of souls for untold years does wear a guy down, and Death goes out into the real world to try and discover what life is all about. We find him dancing in a kind of conga line at a party for the Patrician, asking the guy in front of him why dancing around and kicking things over is fun; we see him getting boozed up at a bar and telling his troubles to the bartender, we find him seeking employment and dealing with a normal human customer, and we ultimately find him happily serving as the cook at Harga's House of Ribs. His questions and comments about human life are simple yet complex, and they basically mimic the same kinds of questions we all ask about the purpose of our time on earth. I personally found the funniest scene to be one in which Death takes Mort to a restaurant just after hiring him and tries to figure out why on earth there is a cherry on a stick in his drink--as he keeps returning to this mental conundrum, the scene just gets funnier and funnier.
To some degree, this novel is a bit simplistic compared to later Pratchett writings, but it is a quick, enjoyable read guaranteed to make you laugh out loud at least once. We get a glimpse of some new vistas of the Discworld, and more importantly we gain great understanding and familiarity with Death, his abode, and his way of non-life. The wizard Cutwell is a young, beardless wizard who keeps finding his devotion to wizardry (especially the whole bachelorhood requirement) tested by the beguiling femininity of the princess--his temptation-forced words and actions provide another great source of humor in the book. The cast of important characters if fairly slim in number, but we do meet up with our old friends Rincewind and the librarian momentarily and learn a little more about Unseen University. The ending definitely could have been better, and that is the main weakness of this particular novel. Other Discworld novels will capture your imagination much more forcibly than this one, but few will make you laugh as hard as this one does.