The Industrial Revolution Arc: Pretty much what it says on the tin. Each of these books brings a new technology to Ankh-Morpork which thereafter feature strongly in the following books. While other arcs focus on character development, these arcs pull Ankh-Morpork into the 19th century.
'Holy Wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.'
Alchemists have always thought that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought on the Discworld if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It's either that or they're about to unlock the dark secret of the Holy Wood hills - by mistake...
William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. New printing technology means that words just won't obediently stay nailed down like usual. There's a very real threat of news getting out there.
Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life - people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.
William just wants to get at THE TRUTH. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. And it's only the third edition...
'Trousers. That's the secret...Put on trousers and the world changes. We walk different. We act different. I see these girls and I think: idiots! Get yourself some trousers!'
Women belong in the kitchen - everyone knows that. Not in jobs, pubs or indeed trousers, and certainly not on the front line. Polly Perks has to become a boy in a hurry if she wants to find her brother in the army. Cutting off her hair and wearing the trousers is easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape takes more time. And there’s a war on. There's always a war on. Polly and her fellow raw recruits are suddenly in the thick of it.
All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army and a vampire with a lust for coffee. Well . . . they have the Secret. And it’s time to make a stand.
The post was an old thing, of course, but it was so old that it had magically become new again.
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet.
It’s a tough decision.
The post is a creaking old institution, overshadowed by new technology. But there are people who still believe in it, and Moist must become one of them if he's going to see that the mail gets though, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer.
Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.
Perhaps there's a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who's prepared to push the envelope...
It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for life. But, as former con-man Moist von Lipwig is learning, the life is not necessarily for long. The Chief Cashier is almost certainly a vampire. There’s something nameless in the cellar (and the cellar itself is pretty nameless), it turns out that the Royal Mint runs at a loss. A 300 year old wizard is after his girlfriend, he's about to be exposed as a fraud, but the Assassins Guild might get him first. In fact lot of people want him dead Oh. And every day he has to take the Chairman for walkies.Everywhere he looks he’s making enemies.What he should be doing is . . . Making Money!
It’s all change for Moist von Lipwig, swindler, conman, and (naturally) head of the Royal Bank and Post Office.
A steaming, clanging new invention, driven by Dick Simnel, the man with t’flat cap and t’sliding rule, is drawing astonished crowds - including a few particularly keen young men armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear – and suddenly it’s a matter of national importance that the trains run on time.
Moist does not enjoy hard work. His . . .vital input at the bank and post office consists mainly of words, which are not that heavy. Or greasy. And it certainly doesn’t involve rickety bridges, runaway cheeses or a fat controller with knuckledusters. What he does enjoy is being alive, which may not be a perk of running the new railway. Because, of course, some people have OBJECTIONS, and they’ll go to extremes to stop locomotion in its tracks.