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Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Great Trouble

A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

by Deborah Hopkinson


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The Great Trouble

A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

by Deborah Hopkinson

Review posted May 13, 2014.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013. 249 pages.
2013 Capitol Choices Selection

The Great Trouble is a novelization of actual historical events. Cholera broke out in London in 1854, with many sudden deaths. The current theory was that bad air caused cholera, but a Dr. Snow figured out the real reason. He also had to convince the townspeople, though.

Deborah Hopkinson adds a mudlark named Eel into the story. Mudlarks searched the Thames for things they could sell. But Eel gets a better job, working for Dr. Snow, gathering information about the cholera cases.

Meanwhile, Eel is trying to protect his little brother from their stepfather, and his friends are in danger of succumbing to cholera.

Deborah Hopkinson has made a compelling story out of this situation, giving Eel the power to help save lives as well as get a better life.