Dodger of the Revolution by James Benmore
|Dodger of the Revolution by James Benmore|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: Dodger has been reduced to a shadow of his former self. A lucrative job offer in France forces him to wake up to his situation, but also places him in real danger at the heart of a revolution.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Heron Books|
Once the undisputed 'Top Sawyer' and most artful of thieves, events have taken a sharp downturn for Dodger of late. His recent close brush with death has left him agitated and disturbed, seeking solace in the murky opium dens beneath the city. His dependence on the poppy has left him clumsy and shaky, no longer the light-fingered pickpocket he used to be. Even the local youths, who used to respect and emulate him, enjoy playing pranks on him and laughing behind his back. There is no doubt about it: Dodger is a mere shadow of his former self and at risk of becoming an opium fiend.
Just as things are looking bleak for our eponymous hero, a job offer in France may offer him just the break he needs. The job seems simple enough; the rewards abundant. But life is never that simple and Dodger's arrival coincides with the bloody Paris uprising of 1848. Swept along in the revolution against his better judgement, he soon finds himself marching alongside the local people and manning the barricades, rifle in hand. This is not what Dodger had planned, and as he becomes entangled in a revolution in which victory seems impossible. Can he salvage his reputation and complete his assignment against all odds?
Benmore has taken a risk transplanting Dodger from his natural 'habitat' of foggy Victorian London to the bload-soaked barricades of revolutionary Paris. In another Dickensian twist, the author uses the setting to introduce the descendants of characters from A Tale of Two Cities. I was curious to see whether the gamble would pay off. To my delight it worked extremely well, and I should have never doubted Dodger's chameleon-like ability to fit in with the locals and talk his way out of a tight corner (of which there are plenty!). The action never skips a beat as Dodger is thrown from one life-threatening situation to the next. I know from the previous books that Dodger has a certain code that he lives by, and although he is a petty criminal, he does not believe in murder. Benmore conspires to test our hero to his limits by deliberately placing him in situations where killing someone seems to be the only way out of a particular predicament. If you plan on reading the book, make sure you have a clear schedule that day because putting the book down is never an option. There is always something exciting happening and like me, you will be frantically turning the pages to see what will happen next.
I sincerely hope that the end of this trilogy will not be the end for Dodger. I think I'd miss him too much. Benmore has taken this well-loved Dickensian character and fleshed him out into a believable and extremely likeable protagonist. His writing just gets better and better with each book. I'd love to see where Dodger's adventures will take him next. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy, which I greedily devoured and thoroughly enjoyed.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dodger of the Revolution by James Benmore at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dodger of the Revolution by James Benmore at Amazon.com.
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