Meet Dodger, a young street urchin with a pure heart, a cunning whit and a talent for finding beautiful things in the muck of Early Victorian London. One dark and stormy night, he sees a girl leap desperately from a horse drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Dodger immediately helps the unknown girl, and unwittingly stumbles into a world where murdering barbers, news paper reporters and mysterious screeching carts can send the world spinning, and where a keen boy with good instinct and an uncanny ability to dodge, might just find a place for himself. Sir Terry mixes fact and fiction as Dodgers adventures lead him to meet Charles Dickens, Sweeney Todd, Henry Mayhew, and perhaps even Queen Victoria herself.
The Disc World books, Pratchett's award winning series, have been my favorite books for years. So, naturally I had high hopes for this, one of Pratchett's few non-disk books. I was not disappointed. This clever romp through Victorian England was an absolute joy to read. Dodger is a fun, quirky main character, with a refreshing knack for accepting new circumstances, and an absolutely beautiful soul. Pratchett's portrayal of historical and well known fictional characters was phenomenal, and the plot was thrilling and fun. Readers used to the disk books may find it jarring for a bit, but will soon get used to the lack of wizards and may just find a commander of the watch quite similar to our dear own Vimes. For some, the complete immersion into Victorian underclass culture may be disconcerting, but I don't think it takes away from the narrative. Over all a wonderful adventure told by one of the best story tellers of the age.