Dodger, by Terry Pratchett

This had somehow passed me by – a pastiche of Dickens by Pratchett, with no sfnal elements at all as far as I can tell, introducing us to the Dodger and his elderly Jewish friend as heroes rather than villains, caught up in an international political plot which involves a beautiful foreign princess, Charles Dickens, Sweeney Todd, Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Robert Peel, and a host of other historical figures from the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. It’s good but not great; I felt that Pratchett couldn’t decide between being didactic about the situation of London in the period, smart about his remoulding of Dickens, or just caught up in telling the story as it came to him. He was reaching, I think, for anger at the situation of the poor, but didn’t quite get there (maybe my palate has been jaded by recently rereading Les Miserables).