Fun literary fact: Charles Dickens, a prolific writer in the 1800s (perhaps you have heard of him?), wrote about many horrible creatures in his works; however, to my knowledge, he never wrote about vampires. Second fun fact: Peter David did.
After Oliver (who cried a lot, in case you forgot) was rescued by his late mother’s uncle and removed from the streets and the certainty of a life of crime, his mentor of sorts, Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, was spared the hangman’s noose (unlike his mentor, Fagin). The downside was that he was supposed to be on the next slow boat to Australia. Having no desire to leave London, he once again used his wits and escaped his situation. With nowhere to go, he found himself walking the streets near the home of his birth, when he still had a mama who loved him. His mother had died in horrible circumstances, killed in a dark alleyway when he was only five. That’s when he was found by Fagin. You know the rest of that story, right?
Still very unaware of an immediate vampyre threat, Dodger discovers a plain-dressed girl on the corner outside his dwelling. She certainly did not fit into the local surroundings, and as it is getting late, Alexandrina accepts his offer to stay in his humble dwellings. She’s mysterious and seems like she doesn’t know much of the real world. Upon their return after a walk around the neighborhood, Dodger is told by one of his “lady” friends that a small boy was asking for him. Mary had sent him in the wrong direction, of course, and when Drina is shocked that Dodger won’t go find him and see what he wants, he relents and they head in the same direction. They find the boy, and he is not alone.
Mr. Fang, the magistrate (and vampyre), has a nefarious plan to take over the Royal Family by making the Princess Victoria his progeny. To keep the infamous vampyre hunter, Isaac Von Helsing, from doing anything to ruin Fang’s plans, he has taken Van Helsing’s son, Bram, and is holding him hostage. Nothing will stand in his way now.
I’m a big fan of Dickens, and the “continuation” of a familiar story is welcome. The language, sound of the narrative and the feel of the people and places is spot on. The addition of the vampires is inspired, when you stop and consider all of the unsavory types and dimly lit locales in those days. Plus those in a higher station in life who did nothing for others? They could be evil vampires, too. Right? There are some great twists and turns along the way (which London is famous for) that will keep you wondering how it all will end.
Artful by Peter David was published July 1, 2014 by 47North. This book was free on Amazon.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Historical Fantasy Paranormal Action/Adventure
Ages: 13 and up
COYER Scavenger Hunt #23: Read a book set in a foreign country. (2 points)
COYER Campfire Tales Read-A-Thon