Dodger (novel)


Author Terry Pratchett
Cover artist Paul Kidby
Language English
Set in London, VE
Published 13 September 2012 (UK), (Doubleday Children's)
Media type Print
ISBN 978-0385619271

Dodger is a novel written by Terry Pratchett, set in early Victorian London, and inspired by Charles Dickens' character the Artful Dodger.[1] The book was released on 13 September 2012 in the UK.[2]


One night on the streets of London, a battered young woman leaps from a carriage, followed and assaulted by two men. The protagonist Dodger, a street urchin and tosher, emerging from a sewer drain, comes to her help and chases away the attackers. This is witnessed by two gentlemen, Charlie and Henry, who take the girl to the latter's nearby home, accompanied by Dodger. A doctor treats her injuries and discovers that she was pregnant and the child is lost.

Dodger's actions impress the gentlemen, as does the genuine affection they quickly see growing between him and the girl, who is tentatively called Simplicity. Charlie gives Dodger the task of finding information on the streets about her and the carriage from which she escaped. During the next days, Dodger thwarts a robbery attempt at the offices of the Morning Chronicle when meeting Charlie, and causes the arrest of a murderous barber named Sweeney Todd when he tries to improve his appearance before meeting Simplicity. These incidents turn Dodger into a celebrity, which helps him gather information, but also make it impossible for him to stay anonymous. This endangers Simplicity and prompts Charlie to have her moved to the house of his rich friend Angela Burdett-Coutts.

Through their activities (and from the recovered Simplicity herself), Charlie and Dodger learn that the girl had secretly married a prince of one of the German states and thereby become an obstacle to a planned political marriage. Her husband had then done nothing against his family's decision to destroy all evidence of the unsanctioned marriage, including Simplicity herself - the vicar and two witnesses to the wedding have already been killed.

This political dimension of the case (along with his celebrity status) soon have Dodger meet some of the Empire's top politicians, such as Benjamin Disraeli and Robert Peel. He learns that the family of Simplicity's husband is pressuring the British government to return her, and that the government cannot outright refuse this demand. Additionally, a mysterious assassin known only as the Outlander is rumoured to be looking for Dodger and Simplicity.

Dodger decides that the only solution is to fake Simplicity's death. Through subterfuge, he acquires the body of a girl looking similar to Simplicity who had died through suicide, and prepares it to be found after a faked attack (during which the real Simplicity would hide) witnessed by Charlie and Disraeli during a planned excursion into London's sewers. The plan is nearly foiled when the Outlander appears, turning out to be a woman. However, with the help of Simplicity, Dodger manages to defeat the assassin and go through with the plan after all. The two young lovers hide a while in Somerset and then return to London, where Dodger has an audience with Queen Victoria and is offered work as a spy for the government, which he accepts as it suits his talents.



According to the author's afterword, the story is set "broadly in the first quarter of Queen Victoria's reign", which would be between 1837 and 1853. However, Pratchett had to "tweak" history a little to get the combination of persons he wanted in place: specifically, Sir Robert Peel is shown as Home Secretary, which he was under Victoria's predecessor William IV.


In November 2013, Pratchett released Dodger's Guide to London.[3]


  1. "Pratchett to unveil Dodger in packed 2012". Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. "Dodger:". Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. "Terry Pratchett Presents Dodger's Guide to London Review". 23 November 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2015.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/30/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.