Harper Collins, Nov 2003, 24.95, 368 pp.
Tiny Tim is tiny no longer. He is a twenty-three year old man who no longer needs a crutch to walk. The only sign of his childhood malady is a pronounced limp that hurts at certain times of the years. Haunted by his father's death, he has distanced himself from the rest of the Cratchits and even his uncle Ebenezer Scrooge. He lives in a brothel teaching the madam how to read and when his money runs out, he looks for treasures to be found in the Thames River at low tide.
One day he finds the dead bodies of two young girls that have a brand on their upper arm, the same type that he saw on a dead child in a London alleyway. When Philomela, a ten year old girl, comes into his life trying to escape a wealthy and powerful aristocrat, Timothy finds that to keep his own humanity he must rescue her from those who branded her and put them out of business.
Louis Bayard has written an outstanding morality thriller that has Mr. Timothy risking his own life, time and time again to help a poor and helpless orphaned girl who is already hardened by the knocks life has thrown at her. Timothy finds an unexpectedly ally in a street smart urchin who is wise beyond his years and refuses to let the evil that lurks around each corner get a grip on him.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner