Artful Dodger? Or Oliver Twist? Which one would you choose?

Artful - Peter David

 

In the novel Artful, the author, Peter David asks this very question . . .

 

"Of greater curiosity is this: Why did the adventures of such a memorably described, thoroughly engaging, and far more captivatingly visualized young man – always pictured with a cocky smile and upraised, mocking eyebrow rather than tears of pathos trickling down his face – play second fiddle in the great orchestra of fiction to the perpetually sobbing Master Twist?"

 

 . . . then answers it himself in a manner that would make Dickens himself proud.

 

"Why Mr. Dickens, in his biography of that particular moment, preferred to focus on the adventures of the orphan parish child, Oliver Twist, remains a matter of speculation and mystery to all subsequent scribes of those long departed times: of a London nearly two centuries gone, back when it was a pox-infested, grimy, depressing, fog-bound, class-favoring, sprawling, noxious, odorous, and overall distasteful place in which to live and breathe and sicken and die – as opposed to modern times, wherein the pox has been largely attended to; so that's progress of a sort."

 

Then he expounds on the very valid reasons why Dickens chose to focus on Oliver rather than Artful; there are several, but the most significant one is Vampyres.  He makes a pretty convincing case that Dickens, in fact, knew that a couple of his original characters were Vampyres, and left adequate clues in the description of those characters that we as Readers should have been able to determine it on our own, had we had sufficient discernment.

 

"It was tragic enough for the average citizen to know that the bloodsucking monsters known as tax collectors already existed; to be informed that there were other inhuman bloodsuckers stalking the night as well, desiring to sink their fangs elsewhere than bank accounts, might simply have been too much for people to bear."

 

So David is doing a fine job at evoking Dickens; he has given me a lot to think about in the prologue, and is also managing to bring a smile to my face with his twisty, Dickensian wordiness: ". . . if pictures are worth a thousand words (and admittedly we have already consumed nearly nine hundred words) . . ."

 

i am so ready to charge into the rest of this novel concentrating on the adventures of Artful Dodger, Vampyre Hunter, my eagerness helped along by the chapter headers.  Here is a taste of a couple of the first ones:

 

"IN WHICH THE READER'S PATIENCE IS REWARDED BY EXPLAINING THE SEEMINGLY INEXPLICABLE AND THE JAILER IS INTRODUCED FOR AS LONG AS HE SUITS OUR PURPOSES"

 

"IN WHICH WE CONTINUE IN THE SPIRIT OF THE PRECEDING CHAPTER BY EXPLAINING HOW SOMEONE WHO SHOULD, BY NO RIGHTS, BE WALKING THE STREETS OF LONDON, NEVERTHELESS IS DOING PRECISELY THAT"

 This book will be published on July 1, 2014, but is available now, on sale for $1.99, through Amazon's Kindle First program.