mort“This is the bright candlelit room where the life-timers are stored-shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for every living person, pouring their fina sand from the future into the past.  The accumulated hiss of the falling grains makes the room roar like the sea.  This is the owner of the room, stalking through it with a preoccupied air.  His name is Death.”

If you ever wanted to know how Death lives, here’s the book for you.  Death (a tangible being in Discworld…or an anthropomorphic personification) has decided he needs an apprentice.  He settles on Mort, a young man who has failed to reach his father’s expectations as a potential farmer and who has been taken to the apprentice’s fair at his local village.  Mort is brought to Death’s domain – a contrived reality where time stands still.  There he meets Ysabell, Death’s adopted daughter, and Albert, Death’s butler.  As he follows Death through the duties of the Grim Reaper, Mort finds it hard to put aside his mortality.  Especially when it comes time for Mort to take some souls of his own without Death’s supervision and a princess’s life is on the roster.  A very lovely princess.  Who Mort instantly falls for…

I’m going to have to put the kibosh on any more reading of Terry Pratchett books for a while since I’ve torn through about six of them in the past 2 or 3 weeks and I don’t want to run out anytime soon.  This one is his most popular novel in Britain, and has probably been one of my favorites thus far.  Having watched the recent movie production of “The Color of Magic,” I automatically hear Christopher Lee’s voice as Death and the idea of Death going on vacation and allowing a teenage boy to take over his responsibilites translates hilariously to the written word.  Of course, Pratchett overseeing the story doesn’t hurt at all.

Through this book, we get somewhat of an overview of the actual land of Discworld, the deeper workings of magic in this universe.  Now that I think about it, I could probably say this about each of the books I’ve read so far.  This one delves a bit into theology.  Although, not traditional theology, or course.  The unmistakeable theology of Terry Pratchett.  This story takes something we all have to face sooner or later and personifies it.  We never think about Death wanting to take a vacation, or being lonely, or having job security.  And here we see all those things, and the consequences.  The very very funny consequences.

“Mort” was written by Terry Pratchett and published in 1987.