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But even for Eel, things aren't so bad until that fateful August day in 1854--the day the Great Trouble begins. Mr. Griggs, the tailor, is the first to get sick, and soon it's clear that the deadly cholera--the "blue death"--has come to Broad Street.
Everyone believes that cholera is spread through poisonous air. But one man, Dr. John Snow, has a different theory. As the epidemic surges, it's up to Eel and his best friend Florrie to gather evidence to prove Snow's theory before the entire neighborhood is wiped out.
Part medical mystery, part survival story, and part Dickensian adventure, Deborah Hopkinson's "The Great Trouble" is a celebration of a fascinating pioneer in public health and a gripping novel about the 1854 London cholera epidemic.
"Backmatter includes an author's note, time line, and further reading suggestions."
- ISBN-13: 9780375848186
- ISBN-10: 0375848185
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: September 2013
- Page Count: 256
- Reading Level: Ages 10-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Set amid the 1854 London cholera outbreak, Hopkinson’s attention-grabbing story of Eel, an orphan who survives by combing the filthy banks of the Thames for anything he might sell, is a delightful combination of race-against-the-clock medical mystery and outwit-the-bad-guys adventure. Eel, a hardworking and bighearted kid with no shortage of crummy luck, is being hunted by a notoriously mean crook, who happens to be his stepfather. When the first cholera case hits, the town blames the polluted air, but Eel and his mentor, Dr. Snow, have a different theory—that it’s being spread through a local water pump—which they set out to prove before the death toll escalates further. Hopkinson (Titanic: Voices from the Disaster) adeptly recreates the crowded, infested streets of London, but it’s her distinct, layered characters and turbulent, yet believable plot that make this a captivating read. As the deadly disease worsens, Dr. Snow and Eel’s deadline looms, and Eel’s past closes in on him, readers will feel the same sense of urgency—and excitement—as the characters themselves. Ages 10–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)