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Mort by Terry Pratchett

Mort (original 1987; edition 2009)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,002127285 (4.03)306
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Collections:Your library, Gelesen und in Besitz
Tags:Roman, Fantasy, England, Discworld

Work details

Mort by Terry Pratchett (1987)

  1. 61
    Good Omens by Terry Pratchett (Pigletto)
  2. 33
    On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony (elvisettey)
    elvisettey: Similar theme: Death gets a replacement. Wry, with a healthy helping of social critique.
  3. 00
    Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore (Zaklog)
    Zaklog: Although American, not British, Christopher Moore has a very similar sense of humor to Pratchett's. And if you like a story about an unsuspecting, innocent (and often clumsy) man accidentally becoming the Grim Reaper, you'll probably like Moore's book as well. Another wonderful characteristic the two authors share is their ability to combine a bizarre sense of humor with very serious moral subjects. So once you finish the newest Pratchett novel, be sure to check out Christopher Moore.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
My first foray into the Discworld novels, and so i begin with number four of the series, the first of the Death collection. Starting with the fourth, however, just illustrated how stand alone these novels must be. I was left with no gaps or missing information that did not allow me to understand what was going on. There is a world shaped like a disc. The oceans pour over the edges and if your friend is sailing and disappears over the horizon, they really are tumbling to their doom. This disc sits on the backs of four elephants, who collectively stand atop the shell of Great A'Tuin, a space faring turtle. The magic system is not explained but seems reasonable enough. There are wizards who can do stuff with light from the 8th color of the spectrum, octarine.

This story centers around Mortimer, known as Mort to everyone yet all usually call him Boy (much to his displeasure). Mort is looking for a job and goes to the trade fair where he waits until the very last moment when Death comes to find him. Instead of taking Mort, he offers him ajob as his apprentice. What ensues (detailed below the Spoilers) is a journey in which Mort has to deal with his new job and the consequences of his actions.

At only 257 pages (albeit without any chapters) there was some things that were a bit thin as to how actions took place, but i think i can overlook this and just enjoy the story. Having done a little research into the series a character or two pop up from previous books. This has caused me to reevaluate my reading order and perhaps I shall stick to chronological so I dont miss any quick references or small details.

This particular edition was part of Gollancz's new reprinting with the minimalist cover design. Limited colors, a bit of hot foil stamping, a ribbon marker, slightly smaller trim size, but all added together make quite the presentation. I imagine a shelf of these would look rather fetching.

Below is a plot synopsis for future reference:
Once Death collects Mort they go on a duty where they take the souls of those who have been killed, but do not kill themselves. As the days go by, Death begins to feel something like he is wanting to be a human and lets Mort perform the duty himself. Of course Mort's heart gets the better of him as he takes the soul of a would-be assassin instead of the beautiful princess. This causes the universe to become weird and reality to shift. The universe eventually can correct itself by sloing in on the discrepancy and forcing the true reality to take place. Meanwhile, the princess is not being remembered by anyone and her saved life is not much to live for. She employs the help of a wizard named Cutwell to help people recognize her.

As Death wanders the world looking to take part in human acts, he tries happiness, and ends up as a cook where his control of time allows him to do a great job. However, Mort finds himself becoming Death as someone must always be in this role. He beigns to physically transform.

As this is happening Death's adopted daughter, Ysabell, and his servant, Albert (who we find out is famed wizard Alberto Malich who created the Unseen University) are dealing with picking up the pieces. Ysabell starts out hating Mort but flips a switch and begins to like him. Mort goes searching in the library, which has autobiographies that constantly update of every person in Discworld. He discovers Albert's true nature and tries to get his magic to save the reality crushing Interface that is trying to restore balance to the world.

The last night sees Mort in a race to perform his duty, avoid being summoned by a bunch of wizards, and making it to the princess just in the nick of time to grab her and Cutwell and bring them back to Death's house. Meanwhile Death IS summoned, snapped out of his reverie, and put on a war path to deal with Mort for his mistake.

Back at his house, Death confronts Mort, and the two engage in a deadly fight with the scythe and sword. At the end of the fight with Mort's hourglass running out, Death simply flips it over because there is no justice, only Death. Everything else seems to work itself out between the gods and Death and we are left with a changed reality but with promises of merging back to how it should have been. This also means that Mort and Ysabell get married, become royalty in their own right and the Princess is crowned queen. So everything turns into chaos, and so too does it regain proper structure and everyone is either at their same level or better off for it.
( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
Mort is the 4th book in the Discworld series and I'm still enjoying them a lot. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get into this series. Now I need to get a couple more!

In this one Death tries to take on an apprentice, a boy named Mort, at least his name was fitting for the job. Death had plans for the boy, but first he needed to learn how to do the job, that of course what the apprenticeship was all about. Death got a little distracted and left the apprentice in charge...

Great book, very funny and we even get to see Rincewind once again! Looking out for book #5! ( )
  readafew | Sep 19, 2014 |
Death takes on an apprentice then takes some time off vacation that results in some interesting events on the Disc in the fourth book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. The idea of having the Disc's Grim Reaper as a major character who is interested in experiencing the "fleshy" side of things could have turned into disaster if not handled right, but Pratchett just uses it to create more laughs and hilarious situations for not only Death but his apprentice Mort, daughter Ysabell, and servant Albert. The mistakes of Mort as he tries to properly fulfill the role of his boss and his resulting continual screw ups in trying to fix his mistakes without informing Death while dealing with two other living occupants of Death's timeless domain.

Ever since watching the miniseries based on Hogfather, I have been waiting to read a Discworld book in which Death was the central character and I wasn't disappointed. After finishing this book I can't wait to see what else Pratchett has up his sleeve for Discworld. ( )
  mattries37315 | Aug 6, 2014 |
Another funny installment by the great Pterry. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jun 2, 2014 |
Pratchett is good for chuckles and guffaws and fun entertainment. In this installment in the Discworld series, Death takes on an apprentice who, like Paul Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice, manages to bungle things. I enjoyed the twist ending.

Pratchett books, dare I call them novels, are starting to leave me with a bittersweet aftertaste. I begin to love the Discworld but then recall the flatness of feelings - reflected in the flatness of the entire world. Terrible things happen and, well, that's just life. On the one hand, Pratchett's ability to laugh at everything is a beautiful talent. On the other hand, one begins to wonder about this place where tears never fall and high tension always resolves itself in a happy ending. Don't get me wrong, I love these books. I love and envy Pratchett's style and sense of humor.

My piece of advice: don't do what I'm doing and chain read Terry Pratchett. All the bitter bits in your brain will be rattled lose. And you'll be hungry for George R. R. Martin. ( )
  konrad.katie | Apr 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
The plot leaps along, but the main pleasure is Death itself, as he progresses through a Job Centre interview to a spell as a short-order cook, and further hilarities. Mort should be required reading for all projectors of serious three-volume epic fantasies. Read this, and be subverted.
added by Shortride | editThe Guardian, John Christie (Feb 5, 1988)

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, Terryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauman, JillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salmenoja, MargitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkins, RobAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Rhianna
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This is the bright candlelit room where the lifetimers are stored - shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for ever living person, pouring their fine sand from the future into the past.
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Book description
When Mort’s father tries to get rid of his dim-witted son by offering him up for apprenticeship, nobody seems to want him – except for an elderly skeleton in a black cloak who turns out to be Death himself! After being accepted into Death’s unusual household, and watching a few souls be guided into the next world, Mort takes over the duty for a night or two, to give his master a break. With one ill-placed stroke of the scythe, he will split history in two, create a paradox that only a powerful wizard can rectify, and send Death on a quest to find out precisely what it is about life that humans enjoy – with predictably hilarious results!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061020680, Mass Market Paperback)

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestseller in England, where they have catapulted him into the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can't refuse -- especially since being, well, dead isn't compulsory.As Death's apprentice, he'll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won't need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he'd ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Unable to be objective, Mort, Death's bumbling apprentice, kills an assassin instead of Keli, the princess who should have been his victim. Reprint.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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