Dodger

Author: Terry Pratchett

While Dodger may be a mostly-grown-up ragamuffin, full of charismatic wiles and street smarts, he has a heart of . . . well, not gold perhaps, but still one that polishes up nicely when it needs to, all the same. As fortune has it, young Dodger becomes the rescuer of a rather distressed (but secretly cheeky) young lady. As he seeks to hide and protect this nameless girl, Dodger seems to keep finding himself thrown into increasingly higher (and more uncomfortable) social circles, rubbing elbows with the likes of Charles Dickens, Ben Disraeli, and (what an adventure that was!) Sweeney Todd. Surprisingly (or perhaps not so much), the solution to the problems of Dodger and the girl (who is becoming ever more important to him) might just be found in the sewers of London, where Dodger’s roots run deepest.

Dodger is truly an excellent historical novel. Terry Pratchett brings both the place and the people of early Victorian London to life vividly. There is a rich amount of historical detail, down to the slang that permeates the story. Moreover, the writing flows well, is both exciting and easy to read, yet is rich in expression, full of fresh, unexpected turns of phrase and vivid metaphors. The characters themselves are equally vibrant–colorful, complex, not always sure who they are themselves, yet carrying on nevertheless. Finally, I appreciate that Pratchett takes a time and people group that had very little hope and portrays them honestly, but still provides a story that is neither grim nor ultimately hopeless. Dodger has my high recommendations–check it out!

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