Dodger is a tosher, a cheeky, enterprising young man who knows the sewers of London like the back of his hand.  He searches in tunnels below ground to find lost treasures like coins or rings, always hoping to find the mystical Tosharoon—a  conglomeration of treasures wrapped up in mud, and worse.

One night while toshing Dodger hears the screams of a young lady in distress from the street above and rushes to her rescue, rising up from the tunnel and defeating the thugs who were beating her.  As he ministers to this well-dressed girl with a mysterious accent he meets the reformer Henry Mayhew and a writer named Charlie Dickens.   The new hero’s decision to investigate the mystery of the girl’s background so he can keep her safe leads him to become involved in the world of aristocrats, Fleet Street journalism, and the Peelers.

Terry Pratchett includes his usual satire of government, news reporting, and life at various levels of society, as well as his typical humor.  The parallels between Ankh-Morpork and Queen Victoria’s London become clearer as the story progresses.  While the characters are not as fully developed as those in the series (difficult to do in one book) it’s easy to see a connection between Sir Robert Peel (head of the Metropolitan Police) and Sam Vimes, for example. 

Fans of Charles Dickens or Terry Pratchett will enjoy this alternate history, as will those interested in English literature and Victorian London.   While listed as a teen book, adults will definitely enjoy it as well.

I listened to the audio, where Stephen Briggs did his usual outstanding job narrating the story.

View more by: