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Making Money    by Terry Pratchett order for
Making Money
by Terry Pratchett
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The irrepressible Moist von Lipwig is back! Remember his shaking up - as well as down, sideways, and inside out - the decrepit Ankh-Morpork Post Office, that was then drowning in decades of undelivered mail and pigeon guano, in the magic carpet ride that was Going Postal? Poor old Moist is once again being fiendishly manipulated into taking on a position - by the sinister Lord Vetinari naturally. What's the ideal role for a semi-reformed con man? Head of a bank of course. Well, not quite head honcho - that ends up being a small mongrel named Mr. Fusspot.

The Macchiavellian Lord Vetinari tells his unimaginative aide Drumknott 'there is more than one way of racking a man ... you get him to build his own rack, and let him turn the screw all by himself' and that's essentially what he does to his postmaster general. Which is not to say that Moist wasn't ready for a change - he likes living on the edge and has been getting bored by dull meetings and Minutes that made his eyes skip 'whole paragraphs in self defense.' When Moist mentions to Vetinari that he's robbed banks in the past, he's told, 'Just reverse your thinking ... The money should be on the inside.' So Moist von Lipwig takes on responsibility for the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork, and is assigned (with a bit of blackmail) by the then dying previous incumbent, Topsy Lavish, the care of its new Chairman, Mr. Fusspot. And he does have past success to build on, as his stamps have somehow become the city's de facto currency.

What follows is another wild romp through Terry Pratchett's imagination. It takes in a mad scientist named Hubert who doesn't 'get out of the cellar very much' and has been building a machine there, the Glooper, to predict and influence the city's economic future. There's something very odd about the bank's chief cashier, Mr. Malvolio Bent. Moist has a counterfeiter - he has to spring him from jail - design the new paper currency that he invents and his bank prints. Crazy Cosmo Lavish is obsessed with Lord Vetinari and will do anything it takes to turn himself into the Patrician - and kill to keep it secret. He accuses Moist of the theft of the bank's gold reserves - and, not too surprisingly, they've managed to disappear. And, while all this is going on, Moist's golem rights activist fiancée, Adora Belle Dearheart, manages to dig up terrifying golems from ancient history that could start wars and certainly change the balance of power between nations.

There's a lot more of course and it's all enormous fun, especially the embellishments that Pratchett tosses at us in asides - like talking books invented by the wizards at Unseen University Press that 'complain about the quality of their glue and the hamfistedness of the typesetter.' And, fortunately for fans, it looks like Moist von Lipwig will not be able to settle down at the bank for too long - Ankh-Morpork is in dire need of a new taxmaster! I can hardly wait for that one.

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