Friday, July 19, 2013

Dodger -- A Reluctant Hero

Dodger, by Terry Pratchett

Audio book narrated by Stephen Briggs

Dodger is a seventeen year old lad living in London in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. He makes his living as a “tosher” (one who scavenges in the sewers for anything of value that may be found there – usually coins and jewelry) and occasionally as a thief.

Dodger’s generally satisfactory life is given an unexpected jolt when he impulsively rescues a young woman who is being beaten in an alley by two men. The young lady who calls herself Simplicity ironically turns Dodger’s life to unexpected complications.

Dodger’s adventures take him from the underbelly of Victorian England and to the highest levels of society as he tries to keep Simplicity safe from those who would harm her.

Along the way, he makes friends with Charles Dickens, apprehends the notoriously mad Sweeney Todd, dines at the home of Angela Burdett-Coutts, the richest woman in the world, and negotiates with Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England.

Author Terry Pratchett is an expert at creating eccentric characters, delightfully flawed heroes and heroines, and wildly entertaining plots. For Dodger, he has delved into the history of London and presents a picture of life there in the mid 1830s.

This book is listed as appropriate for readers 13 and up, but adults should not overlook this charming novel. If you have a ‘tweener who has not yet discovered the joy of reading books for pleasure, consider downloading the audio version of this book on your MP3 player.  Narrator Stephen Briggs artfully brings the book to life.

This book is especially good for boys. Although girls will enjoy it, you might consider The Wee Free Men or A Hatful of Sky also by Terry Pratchett, also narrated by Stephen Briggs, and featuring a young witch named Tiffany Aiken.