The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel (Paperback)

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A YA historical fiction account of the cholera plague in London in the 1850s, as seen through the eyes of a street urchin from the Broad Street neighborhood. Young Eel gets a job assisting celebrated Dr. John Snow, whose meticulous research conclusively proved that ‘the Blue Death’ was in fact spread by contaminated water, rather than ”bad air” as was the prevailing theory. An especially interesting topic to me personally, as several of my direct relatives died from cholera around this same time period (though not in the London outbreak).

— From The Great Trouble, by Deborah Hopkinson


"A delightful combination of race-against-the-clock medical mystery and outwit-the-bad-guys adventure." --Publishers Weekly, Starred

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 ("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

"For readers] who love suspense, drama, and mystery." --TIME for Kids

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

DEBORAH HOPKINSON has written more than 40 books for young readers. Her picture books include Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book; Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book and a Junior Library Guild Selection; A Boy Called Dickens; and the ALA Notable Book Apples to Oregon. She is also the author of the middle-grade novel Into the Firestorm: A Novel of San Francisco, 1906. Visit her at From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780375843082
ISBN-10: 0375843086
Publisher: Yearling Books
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English