The Truth is the 25th book in the Discworld series, but it's one of the books that functions as a stand-alone, so you don't have to read the ones before it. I'd advise you to, since it makes the series more enjoyable to read them in order, but with some Discworld books like this you can jump into the middle of the series. Anyway, this book is about William de Word, a writer (and one-time aristocrat; as he says at one point, "My family's rich. I'm not") who teams up with a sensible young woman, a vampire, and dwarves to create the Discworld's first newspaper, while at the same time they have to solve a mystery and keep themselves alive. There's so much more to this book than that and it's a lot more interesting than that sounds, but it'll work for a short summary.
I last read this book years ago, but it's one of the Discworld books I've only read once or twice because it wasn't one of my favorites. I have no idea what I was thinking when I last read it (I'm convinced I must not have been) because this time around I loved it and I'm trying to figure out how the heck I could have ever thought otherwise. My only theory is that the last time I read it I was a teen and hadn't developed my love of words yet; back then I was more into books like Soul Music (probably because it has a young, cute musician in it and a very young heroine), so I guess then I couldn't appreciate a book about an aristocratic rebel obsessed with words. Well, I most certainly can now, because that's the kind of character I find most appealing and interesting. (*cough* My main writing character certainly doesn't fit that mold; I don't know why you're looking at me that way. ;) )
William de Word (ah, what an appropriate name) I now realize to be one of the most interesting characters on the Disc; he's witty, intelligent, and clever. I love the scenes where he's interacting with Commander Vimes, trying to out-smart him (good luck with that, but William definitely gives him a run for his money). And I couldn't help but laugh at the bit where William begins correcting the spelling of the graffiti on the jail cell wall, because, hey, that sounds like a good way to pass the time to me (said the girl who has been known to add punctuation to things). I also loved how developed and strong of a character William is; he's constantly fighting what he is in order to be a better person, and that's something I can commend (and not to mention understand a lot better now than I could when I was younger).
The other character I didn't appreciate the last time I read this book was Otto, the vampire photographer. I hate vampires, so that was probably the reason, but he's just so ... well, amusing. I mean, you know how vampires are with strong light and this one has picked a career very much involving light, so antics ensue. He, too, is a really strong... er... person because, as one of the vampires on the Disc who shuns blood (along with most of the things that make a vampire a vampire- they're called "Black Ribboners"), he always has to fight against what he is, as well. My favorite quote of the book has to do with this and was said by Otto: "I like Villiam. He was not brought up to be nice but he tries to be a nice person, vithout even cocoa and a singsong to help him. It is hard to go against your nature."
As for the plot, last time around I just couldn't get into the political intrigue of this book, but now I realize just how well-written and not boring it is. I mean, William and the main characters end up having to fight for their lives, all because they're pretty much thrown into a situation beyond their control, and all they have to fight with are pen, printing press, and words. They really do have to test that whole "the pen is mightier than the sword" thing.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars and a slap to the back of the head to my younger self for not appreciating this book earlier. I'm seriously wondering that as I'm rereading this series as an older adult, if the books I always loved before will begin to be replaced with other ones. I don't think anything can ever replace Thief of Time as my favorite, but I can maybe see Soul Music and Pyramids being pushed down as I begin to appreciate some of the other books a lot more.