The Great Trouble
A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel
What is this book about?
Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a “mudlark,” he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He’s being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he’s got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe. But even for Eel, things aren’t so bad until that fateful August day in 1854 — the day the deadly cholera epidemic (“blue death”) comes 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 Dr. Snow’s theory — before the entire neighborhood is wiped out.
“Hopkinson illuminates a pivotal chapter in the history of public health. … Accessible … and entertaining.” (School Library Journal, starred review)
“A delightful combination of race-against-the-clock medical mystery and outwit-the-bad-guys adventure.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“For [readers] who love suspense, drama, and mystery.” (TIME for Kids)
author, Deborah Hopkinson
Knopf Books for Young Readers
ages 10 and up, 2013