Nicholas Nickleby was the third novel by Charles Dickens, following The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist, and sharing with them a host of colorful characters.
Dickens started writing Nicholas Nickleby only a year after Pickwick, as part of that astonishing trio of novels that he completed in an astonishing 18 months.
After the death of the family patriarch, young Nicholas Nickleby and his family are left with no means to survive.
When Nicholas is left penniless after his father's death, he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and protect his mother and sister. But Ralph Nickleby proves both uncaring and unscrupulous, and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world.
The family is split up, and Nicholas lands in a school run by brutish principal Wackford Squeers.
Eventually, Nicholas makes a friend named Smike, and the two boys break free.
Nicholas reunites with his family, but learns he must now defend his sister from the advances of lecherous suitor Sir Mulberry Hawk.
'The novel has everything: an absorbing melodrama, with a supporting cast of heroes, villains and eccentrics, set in a London where vast wealth and desperate poverty live cheek-by-jowl'
-Jasper Rees, The Times
CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870) transformed the art of fiction. The author of numerous novels and short stories, including Great Expectations, A Tale Of Two Cities, David Copperfield, and Bleak House, he is considered a literary colossus, and a central figure in the development of the modern novel.