'Weston deftly interweaves fact with fiction to create a wonderfully picaresque extravaganza.'
'David Weston is wondrously inventive but faithful to the character's origins. He has an uncanny grasp of time and place, writes with fluent wit and excitement and must not end the story with this latest thrilling volume.'
'A delightful Dickensian pastiche which will definitely have the readers clamouring for more.'
Mail on Sunday
'The Artful Dodger's story needed telling and David Weston has told it in a wonderfully engaging way.'
'I think the way David Weston mixes Dickens's fictional characters with real ones (Aldridge, Pushkin, a bit of Dickens himself) really works. Also the book has the energy and momentum and tension of a bloody good Victorian novel. It's as if he was reinventing a genre and taking it forward in what seems to me a most original way. This book is a bit of a knock out.'
DODGER TREADS THE BOARDS is a meticulously researched novel in which Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, becomes the servant of Ira Aldridge, the African Roscius, the first black actor to play Othello.
Using his unique theatrical knowledge, Weston tells the little-known story of Aldridge's ill-fated appearances at Covent Garden, blending historical figures with favourite Dickensian characters. Dickens himself, Macready, Thackeray, Browning, and the young Victoria, make their appearances, together with Newman Noggs, Inspector Bucket, and Vincent Crummles and the Infant Phenomenon, not forgetting the supposed ghost of Fagin.
The mid-section of the book is devoted to an imagined journey to Russia where Jack is befriended by Pushkin, meets his long-lost mother and discovers the true identity of his father.
On his return to London Oliver Twist makes an unexpected appearance before Jack rejoins the Roscius on a barnstorming tour of Ireland. The story is told with pace, excitement and humour in Weston's inimitable style.