Dodger by Terry Pratchett is not a novel about the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist, but it is a novel about a boy named Dodger, who happens to meet Charles Dickens and perhaps inspires more than one beloved Dickens character.
is a tosher, thief, and ragamuffin from London's East End. One stormy
night he goes to the rescue of a woman he hears crying for help, and
that is how his adventures begin. Over the course of the story, Dodger
meets an array of historical and pseudo-historical figures: Dickens, of
course, but also Disraeli, Angela Burdett-Coutts, Sir Robert Peel,
Sweeney Todd, and even Queen Victoria, among others. (I was reminded of
the Bloody Jack series, which is similarly littered with unlikely
meetings with historical figures.) So, don't expect a gritty and
realistic historical novel; Pratchett readily admits that he has
romanticized Dodger's London quite a bit. But if you're in the mood for
something fun and fast-paced with a plucky hero and a damsel in
distress, this book is for you.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)