Make your own free website on

Written for:
Senior Literature
April 23, 1999


By: Terry Pratchett

The book Mort was written by the author Terry Pratchett. The story takes place on Discworld. A world in the shape of a disc, held on the backs of four giant elephants who are standing on a huge space turtle called The Great A’Tuin.

The main character in this novel was Mort. Mort is a young lad with no apparent future. His father can not imagine what Mort will do when he is older. After a chat with Mort’s uncle, his father decided to take him into town to become an apprentice. Men come into town and pick out young men to teach them their profession. At close to midnight Mort and his father were the only ones left in the square. Mort is determined to be chosen by someone and tells his father he is going to stay until the last minute. Just when they are about to give in and leave a rider approaches. They learn it is The Grim Reaper himself. Death is looking for an apprentice. Thus the story begins.

The first dramatic scene in this book is when Death and Mort were out working for the first time. It is then that Mort learned that he will have special powers, so to speak. First, noticeably, he can not be seen. The only things that see him are cats and wizards. Other people choose not to see Death. Another thing he learned was that he could walk through walls. Somewhat later in the book, Mort learns that he does not age. All this is a major shock to him.

Another memorable scene takes place shortly after. Mort is given the opportunity to witness an encounter with Death. This is rare because a person only normally gets to see this once and then does not live to tell about it. A king was going to be assassinated. Mort did not understand why Death would not take the soul of the assassin instead. Death tried to explain to Mort that events take place and there is nothing anyone can do not even Death. If Death were to kill a different person, or not kill a certain person, it could alter reality and possibly destroy Discworld.

The exact second a person dies, Death cuts the soul loose from the mortal body. Normal people get the scythe while royal or higher authorities get Deaths sword. After death, the soul gets to see and even talk to Death. Then, shortly after, the soul fades away and goes to wherever a soul goes. Some soul, however, are different. A person who believes in reincarnation will go directly to his next life after he dies.

The final dramatic scene in Mort was in the end. Mort has been doing Death’s job for days and Death himself was gone. He was out “living” it up. Mort made a few mistakes earlier in the story and was, at this point, trying to set things straight. However, the more Mort worked as Death the more he actually became Death. His eyes have gone from a dark brown to a shining blue. His skin in pale and he stalks as he walks. The most noticeable trait is that he could speak like Death. You hear what he says in your mind. He can talk without moving his mouth. Ysabell, Death’s daughter, became worried that Mort was loosing his control of the situation.

Finally, wizards of the Disc called Death. They summoned him by performing an ancient ritual known as AshkEnte. After things are worked out between the wizards and Death, Death returned home. Now he and Mort decide to fight for the position of Death. After minutes of gruesome battle Mort realizes he will not win. During the fight Death learned that Ysabell was in love with Mort. After Death overpowered the boy he held Mort’s hourglass in his bony hand. Everyone in Dicsworld has an hourglass that shows how much time they have left to live. Holding the scythe over his head, Death watched Mort as his last grain of sand fell though to the bottom dome. Then, while laughing hysterically, Death turned over Mort’s hourglass.

The book ended with the wedding of Mort and Ysabell. Death decided to make an appearance at the marriage to tell Mort everything he bumbled was back to normal and things will work out. He also reassures Mort that he has a long life ahead of him. Ysabell figured that Mort had lived half of his life because his glass had been turned over. Death reassured them that this was not the case. Time has no real meaning in the realm of death.

This book was very well done. Terry Pratchett has written dozens of novels and not all of them are this good. Mort was easy to follow and had a good plot. It gives the reader a different perspective of dying. It also has some insight and can really make you think. The ending was reasonable and well done also. It was hard to understand exactly what had happened but understood more clearly when I reread the last few pages.

The book is a must to any Terry Pratchett fan. The writing style is very unique and easily enjoyable. If you have ever considered reading a novel by this author and you only ever read one, read Mort. I believe the author wrote this book for two reasons. One, to give off a different idea on an enigmatic character. Two, to complete a series of books. Terry Pratchett has also written about Father Time, Mother Nature, and other characters.

Grade Received:
Not Yet Graded.

Return to the Library