Review: Artful by Peter David

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Publisher: 47 North
Publishing Date: july 2014
ISBN: 9781477823163
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher Description: Oliver Twist is one of the most well-known stories ever told, about a young orphan who has to survive the mean streets of London before ultimately being rescued by a kindly benefactor. But it is his friend, the Artful Dodger, who has the far more intriguing tale, filled with more adventure and excitement than anything boring Oliver could possibly get up to. Throw in some vampires and a plot to overthrow the British monarchy, and what you have is the thrilling account that Charles Dickens was too scared to share with the world.

Review: Wow. This surprised me. You know when your preconditioned bias comes into play when doing reviews with unknown publishers or little known authors? I move through those constipated blocks and try to turn a fresh eye on the work before me. Yeah, … I am the greatest. Anyway, I am glad I set my ego and preconceptions aside. This novel had movement from the first page and doesn’t stop until the end. Coupled with the movement, is spectacular character development and scene transitions. Really superbly crafted.

Jack Dawkins has grown a bit through the intervening years when last he saw Oliver Twist. Jack is on his own and lives hand to mouth with a fairly positive attitude. Fagin’s band has either been dispersed or found the hangman’s noose. Fagin in particular meets a tragic end…or does he? Jack stumbles upon a young woman and a small boy and discover that vampyres are profligate and run the city. They have evil designs in store for the girl and use the boy as a hostage. Centered squarely in the tumult is Jack, who turns out to be a sort of antihero.

There is this funny narrative that follows Jack and the story-line throughout. It added levity to the novel when it was most needed. I think this was built for a younger crowd but adults will enjoy this as well.

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