Moist Von Lipwig was an unrepentant con man and swindler who was finally caught and executed. Which is why Moist is stunned to find himself alive and sitting in the office of Lord Ventinari, the ruthlessly pragmatic ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Ventinari offers him a second life--but only as the city's Postmaster. Moist accepts, planning on leaving town immediately, only to find that Ventinari has assigned him a golem as a "parole officer". Since golems are impervious to harm or bribery and never sleep, Moist reluctantly takes a look at this job he has been given.
Moist soon discovers that the Post Office is a decrepit building, packed from floor to rafters with undelivered letters, and that his two employees are an ancient policy-loving postman and an unstable pin-collecting clerk. Also, Moist learns that the job has ended in death for his five predecessors. Perhaps because the undelivered letters began speaking to them too.
The fun of this book is watching Moist using his swindling skills to deal with every impossible obstacle to resurrecting the moribund Post. By doing this, he inadvertently takes on the powerful Grand Trunk Company who runs the "clacks" system, a semaphore-based telegraph. The Grand Trunk Company sees the post office as a possible threat to their communication monopoly. Moist quickly runs afoul of their CEO, Reacher Gilt--and recognizes in him a con-man far greater than himself.
In his wild, never-let-them-see-you-blink career as Postmaster, Moist meets Adora Belle Dearheart--a bitter, chain-smoking, and un-playable woman. Miss Dearheart is coordinator at the local employment office for golems, where Moist has gone in search of indestructible postal carriers (there have been Incidents). Moist is immediately fascinated by her. By her angry morality, Miss Dearheart helps Moist discover that tricking people in a good cause can be just as exciting. Their romance is bumpy and strange, which quite fits their characters, but they get together in the end.
Yet again, Pratchett has created a story that works on many levels. Fun, fast, witty satire full of odd but endearing personalities. A con-man as hero is hard to manage but Pratchett pulls it off. GOING POSTAL takes place in the famous Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork but it is entirely stand-alone. (The only previously-seen character is Ventinari.) If you’re looking for an entrance into the complex world of Discworld, this is a good option. If you're a Discworld fan already, grab this one. Pratchett just keep gets better and better.--Rebekah (10 Nov 05)***
And Captain Carrot and Sergeant Angua and Sacharissa Cripslock (with wedding ring) and Otto Chiek.--Margaret (13 Nov 05)
You're right, we do see them but not a lot, not as full characters. :) It is interesting to hear the Watch talked about from the viewpoint of a criminal. (He thinks a great deal about that werewolf...)--Rebekah (13 Nov 05)