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Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress is a novel by English writer Charles Dickens, first published in book form in 1838. One of Dickens' most famous books, it follows the story of a young orphan, Oliver Twist. Born into a workhouse, and then sold into an apprenticeship, Oliver escapes and makes his way to London. There he meets another young boy, Jack Dawkins, known as the Artful Dodger, who becomes friendly with Oliver, but only to entice him into joining the gang of pickpockets he is part of. The gang, made up of children, is run by Fagin, an elderly criminal. Oliver goes to stay with Fagin and his gang, unaware, at first, of their criminal activities. After being taught what he thinks is just a game, Oliver pickpockets a handkerchief and gets caught. He falls ill in the court and is taken care of by Mr Brownlow, the gentleman he stole the handkerchief from. Whilst he recovers at their home, Brownlow notices how Oliver bears a striking resemblance to a painting of a woman who was the wife of a deceased friend of his.
Meanwhile, Fagin, who fears that Oliver will tell all about his pickpocket gang, devises a plan to get him back. Enlisting the help of Nancy and her abusive lover, Bill Sikes - Oliver is abducted and brought back to Fagin's lair. Nancy however, isn't a criminal at heart and the story goes on to see her try to help Oliver, and be betrayed by Fagin, who informs Sikes (untruthfully) that she has informed on him to the police. In a fit of rage, Sikes beats Nancy to death, flees to the countryside, and then returns to London where he accidentally hangs himself trying to escape an angry mob.
Oliver gets a much happier ending as it turns out he is heir to an inheritance - he is taken in once again by Mr Brownlow who this time, adopts him.
№ 12 in Goodreads 100 Best Nineteenth-Century British and Irish Novels.
This book has 312 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1838.
Production notes: This ebook of Oliver Twist was published by Global Grey on the 28th March 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Portrait of a boy with a cap' by Albert Anker.
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