This is the second Discworld book by Pratchett featuring Moist Von Lipwig. In the first, “Going Postal,” Lipwig is about to be executed for his life of crime as a con-man and thief when he’s offered another option by Vetinari, the ruler of Ankh-Morpork: take charge of the city postal system, which is is chaos, and put it right. In this book, after succeeding in that monumental task, Vetinari has a new task for Moist: do the same for the royal bank and mint, equally corrupt and dysfunctional.
While I enjoyed the book, and Moist’s clever and surprising path to success through a series of seemingly impossible obstacles, like the fact that the gold reserves of the bank are not at all what they seem, and the chairman is a small dog, the fact that this one followed a similar path to the first made it a bit less fun somehow. Instead of making stamps, Moist makes paper money, something unknown in Discworld. Problems with difficult employees, even more difficult enemies, death threats, arrest and imprisonment, public humiliation, an army of golems, and much more create situations that Pratchett juggles with skill and humor. Clever ideas, convincing lies and crafty manipulations are Moist’s stock in trade, and even when things look bleak, we can be pretty sure he’ll win through. Perhaps that’s part of my problem with the book. Once you make it a series, some of the potential failures seem less likely.
Still well worth reading, and at some point I will read the third Moist Von Lipwig book. Recommended.