9780380818198

Truth

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780380818198

  • ISBN10:

    0380818191

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/20/2012
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Summary

The denizens of Ankh-Morpork fancy they've seen just about everything. But then comes the Ankh-Morpork Times, struggling scribe William de Worde's upper-crust, newsletter turned Discworld's first paper of record.An ethical joulnalist, de Worde has a proclivity for investigating stories -- a nasty habit that soon creates powerful enemies eager to stop his presses. And what better way than to start the Inquirer, a titillating (well, what else would it be?) tabloid that conveniently interchanges what's real for what sells.But de Worde's got an inside line on the hot story concerning Ankh-Morpork's leading patrician Lord Vetinari. The facts say Vetinari is guilty. But as William de Worde learns, facts don't always tell the whole story. There's that pesky little thing called the truth ...

Excerpts

The Truth

Chapter One

TheRumor spread through the city like wildfire (which had quite often spread through Ankh-Morpork since its citizens had learned the words "fire insurance").

The dwarfs can turn lead into gold...

It buzzed through the fetid air of the Alchemists' quarter, where they had been trying to do the same thing for centuries without success but were certain that they'd manage it by tomorrow, or next Tuesday at least, or the end of the month for definite.

It caused speculation among the wizards at Unseen University, where they knew you could turn one element into another element, provided you didn't mind it turning back again next day, and where was the good in that? Besides, most elements were happy where they were.

It seared into the scarred, puffy, and sometimes totally missing ears of the Thieves' Guild, where people put an edge on their crowbars. Who cared where the gold came from?

The dwarfs can turn lead into gold...

It reached the cold but incredibly acute ears of the Patrician, and it did that fairly quickly, because you did not stay ruler of Ankh-Morpork for long if you were second with the news. He sighed and made a note of it, and added it to a lot of other notes.

The dwarfs can turn lead into gold...

It reached the pointy ears of the dwarfs.

"Can we?"

"Damned if I know. I can't."

"Yeah, but if you could, you wouldn't say. I wouldn't say, if I could."

"Can you?"

"No!

"Ah-ha!"

It came to the ears of the night watch of the city guards, as they did gate duty at ten o'clock on an icy night. Gate duty in Ankh-Morpork was not taxing. It consisted mainly of waving through anything that wanted to go through, although traffic was minimal in the dark and freezing fog.

They hunched in the shelter of the gate arch, sharing one damp cigarette.

"You can't turn something into something else," said Corporal Nobbs. "The Alchemists have been trying it for years."

"They a can gen'rally turn a house into a hole in the ground," said Sergeant Colon.

"That's what I'm talking about," said Corporal Nobbs. "Can't be done. It's all to do with...elements. An alchemist told me. Everything's made up of elements, right? Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and...sunnink. Well-known fact. Everything's got 'em all mixed up just right."

He stamped his feet in an effort to get some warmth into them.

"If it was possible to turn lead into gold, everyone'd be doing it," he said.

"Wizards could do it," said Sergeant Colon.

"Oh, well, magic," said Nobby dismissively.

A large cart rumbled out of the yellow clouds and entered the arch, splashing Colon as it wobbled through one of the puddles that were such a feature of Ankh-Morpork's highways.

"Bloody dwarfs," he said, as it continued on into the city. But he didn't say it too loudly.

"There were a lot of them pushing that cart," said Corporal Nobbs reflectively. It lurched slowly around a comer and was lost to view.

"Prob'ly all that gold," said Colon.

"Hah. Yeah. That'd be it, then."

And the rumor came to the ears of William de Worde, and in a sense it stopped there, because he dutifully wrote it down.

It was his job. Lady Margolotta of Uberwald sent him five dollars a month to do it. The Dowager Duchess of Quirm also sent him five dollars. So did King Verence of Lancre, and a few other Ramtop notables. So did the Seriph of Al-Khali, although in this case the payment was half a cartload of figs, twice a year.

All in all, he considered, he was onto a good thing. All he had to do was write one letter very carefully, trace it backwards onto a piece of boxwood provided for him by Mr. Cripslock, the engraver in the Street of Cunning Artificers, and then pay Mr. Cripslock twenty dollars to carefully remove the wood that wasn't letters and make five impressions on sheets of paper.

Of course, it had to be done thoughtfully, with spaces left after "To my Noble Client the," and so on, which he had to fill in later, but even deducting expenses it still left him the best part of thirty dollars for little more than one day's work a month.

A young man without too many responsibilities could live modestly in Ankh-Morpork on thirty or forty dollars a month; he always sold the figs, because although it was possible to live on figs you soon wished you didn't.

And there were always additional sums to be picked up here and there. The world of letters was a closed bo -- mysterious papery object to many of Ankh-Morpork's citizens, but if they ever did need to commit things to paper quite a few of them walked up the creaky stairs past the sign "William de Worde: Things Written Down."

Dwarfs, for example. Dwarfs were always coming to seek work in the city, and the first thing they did was send a letter home saying how well they were doing. This was such a predictable occurrence, even if the dwarf in question was so far down on his luck that he'd been forced to eat his helmet, that William had Mr. Cripslock produce several dozen stock letters which only needed a few spaces filled in to be perfectly acceptable.

Fond dwarf parents all over the mountains treasured letters that looked something like this:

Dear Mume & Dad,

Well, I arrived here all right and I am staying, at 109 Cockbill Street The Shades Ankh-Morpk. Everythyng is fine. I have got a goode job working for Mr. CMOT Dibbler, Merchant Venturer and will be makinge lots of money really soon now. I am rememberinge alle your gode advyce and...

The Truth. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Truth by Terry Pratchett
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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