Terry Pratchett
The Discworld series
4th novel – 1st Death story
Characters Death
Locations Death's Domain
Motifs Anthropomorphic personifications and death
Publication details
Date of release 1987
Original publisher Victor Gollancz
Hardback ISBN ISBN 0-575-04171-4
Paperback ISBN ISBN 0-552-13106-7
Other details
Other notes Came 65th in the Big Read
Adapted as a play by Stephen Briggs.

Mort is a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. Published in 1987, it is the fourth Discworld novel and the first to focus on the Death of the Discworld, who only appeared as a side character in the previous novels. The title is the name of its main character and also a play on words: in French, 'mort' means 'death'.

In the BBC's 2003 Big Read contest, viewers voted on the "Nation's Best-loved Book"; Mort was among the Top 100 and chosen as the most popular of Pratchett's novels.[1]


Plot summary

As a teenager, Mort had a personality and temperament that made him rather unsuited to the family farming business. Mort's father, named Lezek, felt that Mort thought too much, which prevented him from achieving anything practical. Thus, Lezek took him to a local hiring fair, hoping that Mort would land an apprenticeship with some tradesman; not only would this provide a job for his son, but it would also make his son's propensity towards thinking someone else's problem.

At the job fair, Mort at first has no luck attracting the interest of an employer. Then, just before the stroke of midnight, a man concealed in a black cloak arrives on a white horse. He says he is looking for a young man to assist him in his work and selects Mort for the job. The man turns out to be Death, and Mort is given an apprenticeship in ushering souls into the next world (though his father thinks he's been apprenticed to an undertaker).

When it is a princess' time to die (according to a preconceived reality), Mort, instead of ushering her soul, saves her from death, dramatically altering a part of the Discworld's reality. However, the princess, for whom Mort has a developing infatuation, does not have long to live, and he must try to save her, once again, from a seemingly unstoppable death. Both the princess and Mort end up consulting the local wizard, Igneous Cutwell, for various methods of assistance with the crisis.

As Mort begins to do most of Death's "Duty", he loses some of his former character traits, and essentially starts to become more like Death himself. Death, in turn, yearns to relish what being human is truly like and travels to Ankh-Morpork to indulge in new experiences and attempt to feel real human emotion. Conclusively, Mort must duel Death for Mort's freedom. Though Death wins the duel, he spares Mort's life and sends him back to the Disc.

The princess is saved from a second death when the alternate reality Mort created is reduced to a pearl-like state. This pearl is given to Mort for safe-keeping. At the end of the novel, Mort marries Ysabell, Death's adopted daughter.


The novel has been adapted by Robin Brooks for BBC Radio Four. Narrated by Anton Lesser, with Geoffrey Whitehead as Death, Carl Prekopp as Mort, Clare Corbett as Ysabell and Alice Hart as Princess Keli, the programme was first broadcast in four parts in mid-2004 and has been repeated frequently, most recently on BBC7.[2]

On December 15, 2007 a German language stage musical adaptation premiered in Hamburg, Germany.[3]

A brand new English musical adaptation of Mort was presented in Guildford, Surrey, UK in August 2008 by Youth Music Theatre: UK. The adaptation is by Jenifer Toksvig, sister of broadcaster and novelist Sandi Toksvig, and composer Dominic Haslam.[4] A new production was staged at Greenwich Theatre in 2011, directed by Luke Sheppard.

In October 2010, it was reported that Disney was developing a film adaptation with John Musker and Ron Clements as directors; subsequent reports in March 2011 indicated that the project had been abandoned.[5]


  1. ^ BBC - The Big Read - Top 100 Books April 2003, Retrieved 2009-05-9
  2. ^ Mort at BBC Radio Listings website
  3. ^ Mort Musical website of the Hamburg stage adaptation.
  4. ^ Toksvig/Haslam Musical website of the UK Aug 2008 adaptation
  5. ^ "Mort… C’est Mort?". Progress City, U.S.A.. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 

External links

Reading order guide
Preceded by
Equal Rites
4th Discworld Novel Succeeded by
Preceded by
1st Death Story
Published in 1987
Succeeded by
Reaper Man

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mort — mort …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • MORT — «DEPUIS qu’elles se savent mortelles, les civilisations ne veulent plus mourir.» Cette boutade est située, datée: elle reprend un mot de Paul Valéry sur l’Europe d’après 1918 et elle l’étend, elle le transforme pour l’appliquer à un monde en… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • mort — mort, orte 1. (mor, mor t ; au masculin, le t ne se lie pas, excepté dans la locution mor t ou vif) part. passé de mourir. 1°   Qui a cessé de vivre. •   Après mon père mort, je n ai point à choisir, CORN. Cid, IV, 2. •   De votre cheval mort je… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • mort — MORT, MOÁRTĂ, morţi, moarte, adj., s.m. şi f. I. adj. 1. (Despre fiinţe) Care nu mai trăieşte, care a murit. ♢ expr. A se face mort în păpuşoi sau (substantivat) a face pe mortul în păpuşoi = a se face că nu ştie nimic, a simula nevinovăţia, a… …   Dicționar Român

  • mort — Mort, Tantost est feminin et substantif, et signifie la separation du corps et de l ame, Mors. Duquel mot il est prins, et tantost est masculin adjectif, et signifie celuy qui est tres passé ou decedé, Mortuus. Dont le feminin est Morte, Mortua.… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • mort-né — mort né, mort née [ mɔrne ] adj. et n. • 1285; de 2. mort et né 1 ♦ Mort en venant au monde. Accoucher d un enfant mort né. Jumelles mort nées. 2 ♦ Fig. (1620) Qui échoue dès le début (⇒ avorter). « Chefs d œuvre mort nés » (Gautier). ⊗ HOM.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Mort — Mort, n. [F., death, fr. L. mors, mortis.] 1. Death; esp., the death of game in the chase. [1913 Webster] 2. A note or series of notes sounded on a horn at the death of game. [1913 Webster] The sportsman then sounded a treble mort. Sir W. Scott.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • MoRT — Studio album by Blut Aus Nord Released October 23, 2006 …   Wikipedia

  • Mort — ist der Name folgender Personen: Michel Mort, lokaler Sagenheld aus dem Mittelrheinraum, der Johann I. von Sponheim 1279 in der Schlacht von Sprendlingen gerettet haben soll Valzhyna Mort (* 1981), weißrussische Lyrikerin und Übersetzerin… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • mort — mort, e adj. Usé, inutilisable : Mes pompes sont mortes. / Être mort dans le dos, transi de froid. / Elle est morte, c est fini, il n y a plus d espoir ou plus d argent : On verra demain; pour aujourd hui, elle est morte. □ n.f. À mort, à fond,… …   Dictionnaire du Français argotique et populaire

  • Mort — Mort, n. [Cf. Icel. margt, neut. of margr many.] A great quantity or number. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] There was a mort of merrymaking. Dickens. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English