Book #3 Complete (Finally!)
Dodger is a right tosher, which just means he travels the sewers of Victorian London looking for anything of value. One rainy night, he emerges to find a beaten girl trying to escape her captors and comes to her rescue. This is how he comes to meet Charles Dickens (that’s right), a reporter for the Morning Chronicle and Henry Mayhew, co-founder of the satire magazine Punch and activist for the poor. Mayhew and his wife take the girl into their home to recover, and Dodger, being a good sort (and already falling for this girl), is determined to bring her captors to justice — or at least for a ride on the Thames without a boat. This girl isn’t just anyone, though, and Dodger finds himself emerging from the stews and into London’s poshest neighborhoods to keep the girl safe.
I really like the plot of Dodger, but the book is so character-driven that I often felt like the story was coming to a standstill. Pratchett does a lot of world-building, though he admits in a note at the end that he took some liberties with history to make it all fit. Dodger comes into contact with the historical figures of Dickens and Mayhew, but also Sweeney Todd (fictional), Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts (real), and Sir Robert Peel (real and also helped create the modern police force). A lot of detail is given about life in Seven Dials and the ins and outs of being the lowest of the classes. The language adds to the authenticity. All of this detail immerses you in Victorian London, but like I said, I was often wondering when the mystery of the girl would pick back up, and I ended up skimming quite a few pages.
I would recommend this to people who like to be immersed in history. If you’re looking for a mystery, though, I would steer you elsewhere.