Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Terry Pratchett

Doubleday (Transworld UK)
13 September 2012/ ISBN 9780385619271
Fantasy / London / 1840s

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Dodger is seventeen and has lived all his life on the mean streets of early Victorian London (albeit a sort of parallel version) calling no man master. He works as a tosher, combing the sewers for what people have lost and selling it on. His landlord is the mysterious and well travelled jeweller Solomon, and life seems good enough until one night he fights off two men who are attacking a young woman. Suddenly his life changes and becomes perhaps more interesting, certainly more lucrative and definitely more dangerous?

Much as I love the Discworld series I also enjoy it when Terry Pratchett takes a break and gives his readers something else. This is set in the same slightly parallel universe as Nation (also reviewed on this site) and is listed as being for young adults although of course adults are going to find it just as, and probably more, enjoyable. Anybody who knows about this period will be interested to discover that a certain young reporter Charlie Dickens features, as does an equally youthful Disraeli, Henry Mayhew and Angela Burdett-Coutts to name a few. Pratchett also manages to make some pithy and thoughtful remarks on the nature of one’s place in society, money and freedom and gives an interesting slant on more than one urban legend. This isn’t steampunk, but I can imagine anybody waiting for the next book of that type (well, they are rather few and far between) will lap this up. Pratchett has the ambience of 1840s London spot on, and despite a somewhat wordy approach to the whole thing has managed to deliver another good book. There could even be more in the same series which would be great. London’s sewers will never be the same again!
Reviewed 2012