A terrifically funny tale of dark deeds in Dickensian London, from master storyteller Terry Pratchett.
Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of over fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. He died in March 2015.
This superb novel from Pratchett is relatively subdued in its humor and contains virtually no fantasy, beyond a flavoring of early Victorian alternate history. It's not only a fine Dickensian novel-Dickens himself figures prominently. It follows a sewer-scouring "tosher" and thief named Dodger, "a skinny young man who moved with the speed of a snake," who, like a knight in soiled armor, leaps out of a drain one night to protect a young woman who is being severely beaten. Two of London's most famous figures, Charles Dickens and social reformer Henry Mayhew, appear on the scene a moment later. A complex plot gradually unravels involving the identity of the mystery girl, known only as Simplicity, and the reasons someone powerful wants her dead. Making guest appearances are such luminaries as Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria, and Angela Burdett-Coutts, the richest woman in the world at the time. Full of eccentric characters and carefully detailed London scenes, the tale embodies both Dickens's love for the common man and a fierce desire for social justice. Ages 13-up. Agent: Colin Smythe. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Here, once again, is the mark of a great writer . . . we are
captivated by ingenious word-building on every page . . . As
Dodger's triumphant path ultimately brings him honour from the very
highest rank of society, we cannot help but cheer not only for his
success, but also for the success of this ebullient, funny and
delightful novel. * Guardian *
Wonderful. * Daily Mail *
Dodger feels fresh, vibrant and full of energy, a triumph that should be celebrated as yet another glorious gift from Narrativia. * SFX *
[A] superb novel . . . full of eccentric characters and carefully detailed London scenes, the tale embodies both Dickens's love for the common man and a fierce desire for social justice. * Publishers Weekly *
It's a masterwork from a treasure and hero of a writer, and it will delight you. -- Cory Doctorow
Gr 8 Up-The master of humorous fantasy has taken to historical fiction like a London guttersnipe to a large helping of bangers and mash, albeit with a touch of the fantastical. Dodger is an inhabitant of the worst stews of London, who makes a meager living as a tosher, a treasure hunter in the sewers under the city. His fortune changes, literally overnight, when he rescues a damsel in distress and comes to the attention of the not-yet-famous newspaperman Charlie Dickens. Together they embark on a mission to thwart the evildoers bent on recapturing the girl. Dodger is a thoroughly likable young rogue whose exploits bring him into direct contact with some of the best-known names in Victorian England-Benjamin Disraeli, Sweeney Todd, Sir Robert Peel, and, of course, Queen Victoria herself, with whom he spends a memorable afternoon taking tea. Pratchett does a bang-up job of re-creating Old London for today's audience, complete with pathos, humor, and truly nasty descriptions of the filth, stench, and danger, all narrated in Dodger's unique voice.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
On a storm-tossed night in Victorian London, Dodger, the hero of this picaresque tale, rescues a mysterious young woman, launching an adventure involving intrigue, murder, secret identities, Charles Dickens, and, ultimately, even the Queen herself. Since so much of the story takes place in the sewers, the author's endnote explaining that during this period they were used chiefly for drainage (rather than actual sewage) might have been better placed at the book's beginning. The story of Dodger's meteoric rise from the sewers is, if largely unbelievable, whimsical and warm in tone. Unfortunately, the heroine primarily exists to be rescued, which is disappointing in a book marketed toward younger readers. The spirited, versatile voice of Stephen Briggs is, as always, an excellent match for Pratchett's playful writing. VERDICT All in all, a sweet historical adventure with more than a trace of nostalgia; possibly more appealing for adults than for younger listeners. ["Pratchett does a bang-up job of re-creating Old London for today's audience, complete with pathos, humor, and truly nasty descriptions of the filth, stench, and danger, all narrated in Dodger's unique voice," read the review of the Harper: Harper Collins hc, SLJ 11/12.-Ed.]-Victoria Caplinger, -NoveList/EBSCO Pub., Durham, NC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.