Barnaby Rudge is an early Dickens novel, his first historical novel, of the Gordon riots of 1780, about fifty years before his time. One of Dickens strong points is atmosphere, and this novel is one of his best in that department. His description of the Maypole Inn and its proprietor, slow John, is marvelous. Much of the book describes the riots and their effect on various characters. Barnaby himself is an idiot, but such an excellent character for all that. The villians actually have good qualities in this book. Dickens is one of my favourite authors, and I took up this book simply because I wanted to read all his books. Barnaby Rudge, though is a little different than some of Dickens other works. For one its about a true historical happening. The riots of 1780 actually did occur. Its one of his shorter books, and it was written earlier on in his career. The book is really not where a reader should start with Dickens books, but it should be read nonetheless. It still has the same great characterizations and atmosphere that we expect from Dickens, and its still a good story. Barnaby is quite the character. We have to laugh at his antics, and Slow John at the Maypole Inn is absolutely wonderful. And by the way, the Raven Grip is supposedly the model for Poes raven. I would not start reading Dickens with Barnaby, but even though its not as well known as ten other of his novels, I can highly recommend if you like other Dickens to give this book a read. I intend to reread it in my next round of Dickens rereading.