This is the last major Discworld novel from Pratchett and features con-man involuntarily-gone-straight Moist Lipwig. In previous books, *Going Postal* and *Making Money*, Lipwig was talked into reforming the Postal Service and the Banking establishment by the mostly benevolent tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari. Now Lipwig is put in charge of bringing railroad transportation to this part of Discworld, with the assistance of Dick Simnel, a young engineer who watched his father blow himself up trying to control an early model of steam engine. Dick pays more attention to the actual math and physics of pressure and is an expert on the use of “the sliding rule”, which almost seems like a magic wand to the unlearned.
What follows is at least partly a very funny primer on how entrepreneurship really works. You are laughing at every paragraph but also realizing that Pratchett really understands business and people. There is also another important plot dealing with racism in Discworld, between Humans, Dwarfs, Trolls, and Goblins. This is a final addition to the author’s legacy of treating serious problems with wise humor. (181w)
Stephen Brigg‘s entertaining audiobook performance wrings every bit of humor from the text. It might even be better than reading it yourself.