Twelve-year-old Smith is a denizen of the mean streets of eighteenth-century London, living hand to mouth by virtue of wit and pluck. One day he trails an old gentleman with a bulging pocket, deftly picks it, and as footsteps ring out from the alley by which he had planned to make his escape, finds himself in a tough spot. Taking refuge in a doorway, he sees two men emerge to murder the man who was his mark. They rifle the dead man’s pockets and finding them empty, depart in a rage. Smith, terrified, flees the scene of the crime. What has he stolen that is worth the life of a man?
Smith is a gripping, engrossing, and utterly diverting tale of high adventure related by a writer whose scintillating style is matched only by the dazzle of his plotting. In the words of Lloyd Alexander, “Garfield is unmatched for sheer exciting storytelling. The reader simply can’t stop reading him.”
Winner of the Phoenix Award A Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor Book
“Leon Garfield is unmatched for sheer exciting storytelling. The reader simply can’t stop reading him.” —Lloyd Alexander “It is a fine thing that Leon Garfield’s rip-roaring and funny tales should be brought back into circulation for a new generation of readers.” —Joan Aiken “Smith is one of the most interesting children’s books of the year—not only as a period tale, though in this respect it is superb, but also for the strong yet tender comment on the way people feel, now, then, and always.” —The Christian Science Monitor “I like to think that maybe a child of today—who was like the child I was yesterday (and millions of others like me)—will remember the first reading of Smith years from now and say: Yes, that’s the book that opened windows and doors for me, the pivotal book of my childhood.” —Robert Cormier
“Vivid characters, imagery, and atmosphere combine to make this a distinguished book for casual reading or for study.” —English Journal