Audie Award Nominee, Best Teens Category, 2013
A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's...Dodger.
Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London's sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He's not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl - not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.
From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.
Beloved and best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy's rise in a complex and fascinating world.
©2012 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
Some author / narrator combinations were clearly made in heaven. As soon as you hear 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 actor performing 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 author's creation, you know that those two talents were meant to come together, rendering something magical and beautiful. That happened with Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Rosenblat. Now it has happened again with Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs. You can almost hear something finely-crafted and well-oiled clicking into place, like the Universe doing something right. I enjoyed "Dodger" so much that I turned right around and listened to it again, immediately ... and enjoyed it even more. You will appreciate "Dodger" especially if you have previously read some of Charles Dickens' novels, like "Oliver Twist," in particular. Here (in Pratchett's world, of course), we learn that Dickens not only derived his character, The Artful Dodger, from this eponymous protagonist, but that he derived almost 𝙖𝙡𝙡 of his ideas from Dodger, by following him around, taking notes! Dodger is a "tosher" in Victorian London: He makes his living by scavenging coins and jewelry that the "nobs" have carelessly let fall through the sewer grates. Well, he also does a bit of scavenging above ground, too. We quickly learn to love and root for Dodger, whose smarts have kept alive in a cruel world, without subverting his good heart. Perhaps even more, we come to love Dodger's landlord and mentor, Solomon Cohen, who has done some hair-raising surviving of his own. The magnificent Stephen Briggs switches effortlessly from Cohen's Yiddish accent, to Dodger's cockney, to Simplicity's girlish timbre, to the Outlander's "not Chinese, but not German" accent, to Serendipity's carefully-cultivated Somerset accent, not to mention all the other characters' -- male and female -- unique voices. Oh, and did I mention the humor? "Dodger" is 𝙛𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮! (Well, of course. I mean, after all, Terry Pratchett wrote it, right?) I can't imagine anybody not liking "Dodger," so just buy it.
It isn't a Discworld novel and it doesn't have much of that trademark Pratchett humor that we love so much, but the characters and the story are still definitely Pratchett. I did miss the laugh-out-loud moments that I usually enjoy with a Pratchett novel, but still I enjoyed the book. Briggs did an excellent job of narrating, as usual.
Stephen Briggs is genius! His vocal interpretations of the different speakers rival live theater drama. I love how I can hear the seeds of real-life Dickens characters in Pratchett's story. Big fun.
This is not Discworld. I like Discworld. This is not Discworld. It's neither arch nor is the humor brittle. There are no sentient orangutan librarians or magic suitcases. In fact, there's nothing supernatural at all. And it made me grin out loud.
I can't say enough about Stephen Briggs. I would listen to that man read a book of recipes, for heaven's sake. Don't miss this one.
Love Sci Fi, Fiction, Humor and Philosophy. Anything that makes me think.
While this novel is set in the "real" world of London, in the late 1800s, the characters feel like many of the characters from Terry Pratchett's Disc World Series. In some ways, it is a rehash of Mr. Pratchett's more successful novels. Often I would, in my mind's eye substitute Dodger for - say his Moist Von Lipwig character, or his Lord Robert Peel for his Watch Commander Sam Vines. The most original character was that of Dodger's erstwhile jewish roommate and mentor, Solomon Coen.
So what made this story so enjoyable was a good story, well told. The narration was masterfully done by Mr. Stephen Briggs, which adds a life of its own to the characters in this story. The pacing was nice, keeping the story moving along lively while showing the truly harsh life of the lower classes in London at the beginning of the industrial age.
You are in Victorian London. In spite of the poverty and struggle to survive the story is not depressing or dark but quite uplifting. Dodger makes you laugh and the story artfully mixes real historical persons with imaginary characters to give a real sense of the "times". It is also a treatise on London's sewer system which seems an unlikely background but Pratchet manages an enthralling story in spite of this.
I have rarely enjoyed a book which so totally immerses the reader in the period - a historical novel par exellence with an unlikely hero to identify with and cheer on through the trials and tribulations of his fight against powerful political forces in order save a young lady from a miserable fate.
A book to read again and again!
I collect physical books - SciFi/Fantasy & History. I also listen to Audible for over 16 years now.
A good listen. Characters are in many cases drawn from real people, though not always in the right time. C. Dickens is such a character who is always writing down notes (he works at a newspaper). Listen close to the notes.
Much fun as is anything by Terry Pratchett.
Honesdale, PA USA
With the writing of Terry Pratchett and the narration of Stephen Briggs, how can this audiobook be anything less than stellar? Not a Discworld novel, but those familiar with the world will spot old friends among the cast, among them a smell that nearly has its own sentience, a river that may or may not actually be _water_, and a copper that has more in his head than just muscle. It was fascinating to be let into this world of Victorian England, with such faithfuls among the protagonists as Queen Victoria, Charlie Dickens, and Sweeney Todd... I will admit, the book has struck up in me a desire to refamiliarize myself with Dickens' work, as so many of the names, characters, circumstances, and turns of phrase tugged at my memory. Pratchett's talent for satire is muted here, but nevertheless shines through in his homage to one of the greatest writers of them all. A truly brilliant book, and well worth the credit, or the cash if you haven't one to spare.
A joy to read/listen to. Good story, great wit and humor, fine narration. One of those I will read again some day just for the fun of it.
I love Terry Pratchett's little descriptions that are quietly hilarious.
This was my second time hearing him, and I would buy other books he narrates.
Terry Pratchett is at it again. In this clever, early-Victorian tale Pratchett opens our eyes through a clever story of the less fancy side of London. Mixing historical fiction with historical fact, we can't help but cheer for Dodger. While not as good as Nation (a must read), Pratchett does spin a very appealing tale. Stephen Briggs does another great job telling the tale.
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