The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, it shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens's tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters - the arch-villain Fagin, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Meet the Artful Dodger, as roistering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four foot six. With him, you’ll run down the dirty backstreets of London to be entertained by the Respectable Old Gentleman and his brood of thieves and pickpockets. Fagin will bring you to ‘the trade’, and make something of you, something profitable. But there’s something about the young orphan Oliver that’s too good for this dark and dangerous world – can he ever escape its clutches? Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.