Terry Pratchett has always been one of my favorites. I have read almost everything he has written. Dodger, like Nation, is a stand alone novel filled with detail, humor and insight. Pratchett is best when he is conveying a message. His books are never heavy-handed, but they do get his point across in a humorous and ironic way, which I completely enjoy.
Dodger is a young tosher, who scours the sewers looking for things that have been dropped or washed away. He is not a thief, but has no problem taking advantage of something just sitting there. He lives with Solomon, a Jewish jeweler, and Onan, a very smelly dog. One night he sees a young woman in danger and rescues her from a couple of thugs. He also meets Charlie Dickens and John Mayhew who help him find a place for young “Simplicity”. Dodger, despite himself, becomes entangled in Simplicity’s web and sets out to save her permanently. He uses his wits and street smarts to solve the mystery of Simplicity and make sure she is free in the future. He has run ins with Sweeney Todd, Robert Peel and many others along the way. And despite himself he becomes something of a hero.
I loved listening to this book. Stephen Briggs does an excellent job bringing not only Dodger to life, but London as well. Pratchett’s words and Brigg’s voice make everything seem tangible. You can smell the stink of the sewers and see the hardships of the poor in Victorian London. There was just something that sucked you into the life of Dodger and didn’t want to let you go. I worry about what is going to happen once Pratchett is too sick to write anymore. Will anyone be able to fill the void? He has such a unique voice and perspective that I don’t think he can be replaced.