Now that he’s helped whip the post office into shape, what’s a reformed criminal to do?
Fans of Pratchett’s Discworld series were handed a real treat a few years back in Going Postal, in which the author introduced Moist von Lipwig, an inveterate grifter who is almost hung before being picked by Vetinari, boss of the city of Ankh-Morpork, to reform the decrepit mail system, with hilarious and very satisfying results. In this sequel, we find Lipwig at the height of respectable success and bored out of his mind—not surprising given that Lipwig is what brainy types would call a “change agent,” and others just a plain old thief. So it makes sense that Vetinari picks him for yet another impossible assignment, to help overhaul the city’s financial system (the city is switching from gold to paper currency). After much spluttering about how he's more used to breaking into banks than working in them, Lipwig gets down to tearing up old traditions and forging new ones, creating new enemies with almost every passing page. Just as Going Postal somehow made the streamlining of mail delivery in a quasi-medieval fantasy world utterly riveting, so too here Pratchett (Wintersmith, 2006, etc.) creates fine entertainment out of the machinations of a dismal science. The book takes up too much time with tedious subplots and villains possibly necessary for the courtroom conclusion, but Lipwig is a brilliant scalawag of a hero, and Pratchett's taste for dry one-liners remains prodigious.
Far from Pratchett's best, but entertaining nonetheless.