If you’ve had anything to do with science fiction over the last thirty years, chances are you’ve seen or read something by Peter David. The man has written for movie and TV, dozens of original novels, thousands of comic book issues, and generally has something new coming out about once a month. My introduction to all things Peter David was though his Star Trek: The Next Generation books; Strike Zone was one of the first books that ever made me laugh out loud, and it only got better with Q-in-Law. David captured the characters better than any other writer, and the dialogue was always filled with snappy, quotable snarkiness.
In Artful, Peter David steps away from the science fiction/comic book world, and comes up with a different take on Charles Dickens’s classic, Oliver Twist. Not quite in the same vein as rewrites like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this book follows the adventures of the secondary character Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, last seen being hauled off to prison for theft. After escaping from jail before he could be shipped to the penal colony in Australia, Dodger sets up a comfortable (to him) life in the slums of London, charming and thieving his way though the world until he stumbles across a plot to kidnap the princess Alexandrina – future Queen of England – thereby subjugating the British Monarchy. By vampires.