Postmaster general Moist von Lipwig, former arch-swindler and confidence man, has exceeded all expectations in running the Ankh-Morpork Post Office. So it's somewhat disconcerting when Lord Vetinari summons Moist to the palace and asks, Tell me, Mr. Lipwig, would you like to make some real money?
Vetinari isn't talking about wages. He's referring to the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork that has run on the hereditary employment of the Men of the Sheds, who do make money in their spare time. Unfortunately, it costs more than a penny to make a penny, so the whole process seems somewhat counter-intuitive.
But before Moist has time to fully consider Vetinari's question, fate answers it for him. Now he's not only making money, but enemies, too; he's got to spring a prisoner from jail, break into his own bank vault, stop the new manager from licking his face and, above all, find out where all the gold has gone—otherwise, his life in banking, while very exciting, is going to be really, really short . . .