In Louis Bayard's brilliantly imagined novel, Tiny Tim of 'Christmas Carol' fame has cast his crutches aside.
Determined to cut his financial ties to his Uncle Ebenezer, he now spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasure hidden in their pockets.
One day, he comes across a girl's body, branded with a mysterious 'G'.
Then he finds another girl with a similar brand - but she is still alive.
Determined to protect Philomela and get to the bottom of the mystery, Tim embarks on an astonishing adventure ...With wonderful characters, a compelling plot and the vivid atmosphere of Victorian London, this page-turner is gripping from beginning to end.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages, n/a
- Publisher: John Murray General Publishing Division
- Publication Date: 06/06/2005
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780719567025
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Review by Greatrakes
This is the story of Tiny Tim. Louis Bayard imagines what would have happened after the Christmas of Scrooge's conversion to good works. He conjures up an man of medium height, cured except for a slight limp. With most of his family dead, and too spoiled by 'Uncle' N's charity to work, he has a mildly dissolute life, living in a brothel, and returning to the (by now very old Uncle N), for remittances when his funds run low.This is a thriller and quite a good one, with plenty of twists and turns. The theme is one of child slavery and prostitution in late Victorian London and Mr Timothy's attempt to crack a ring of kidnappers and rescue the girls. He is assisted by a street urchin and a twelve year old girl who has escaped. I wasn't convinced by the historical context, the language just kept striking duff notes, so far as I was concerned, and I thought the attempt at creating atmosphere, by summoning up London fog and Christmas snow was rather hackneyed. I did enjoy the ghost story subtext, which has Timothy constantly seeing or imagining the ghost of this father in every street scene. He carries on a narrative with his father throughout the book both through conversations with ghosts and letters he writes to him.Overall, the book left me uncomfortable, Mr Timothy's obsession with the young girl he rescues seems almost as sinister as that of those she was rescued from.