Born in a shabby tenement in Victorian London, young Tom Bedlam is employed stoking the furnaces in a massive porcelain factory; he is son to a father he has never met, and sibling to a baby who vanished at birth. But in spite of these disadvantages, he is a positive spirit, cunning in his pursuit of love, unflinchingly loyal to his friends, and possessed of a deep, passionate soul. More than anything, he wishes to bring the loose strands of his estranged family together.
After Tom’s mother dies, a mysterious family benefactor appears who offers to pay for the boy’s education. For a factory urchin this is good luck indeed, and Tom is whisked away to an exclusive private boarding school called Hammer Hall. The school is a crucible of variously privileged, predatory, meek, and noble boys, and although Tom gathers crucial clues there about his lost brother, he finds himself caught between warring forces and makes a Faustian pact that will haunt his adult life.
As Tom becomes a man, his quest assumes grander proportions, a search for his lost innocence but an attempt to create the family he dreamed of in childhood. His experiences will challenge his decency and force him to weigh his character against the pitfalls of loyalty, patriotism, love, and familial duty.
Tom Bedlam shows how small deeds in childhood can resonate for a lifetime, and how the bonds of family ultimately prevail against the devastating march of progress and human folly. Most of all, it is a journey with a good friend. Charming, whimsical, passionate, and funny–there’s no better companion than Tom Bedlam.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Tom Bedlam|
|Release Date: 03-25-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Tom Bedlam|
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TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK
It is quite possible that emily bedlam was simply a very good woman, but to her son, Tom, she appeared insane. She was the embodiment of Christian virtue. “God Bless!” she would say to the surliest stranger with a giddy and well-meaning smile. When she received a fearsome oath in reply, Mrs. Bedlam held no grudge. She tried again the next day. And the next. She never spoke in scorn, nor did she gossip or disparage her neighbors. She provided for her only son through her employment at Todderman & Sons Porcelain & Statuary, and remained faithful to her husband though he had deserted her many years before. Never had the boy met a woman as selfless and self-effacing. She had been robbed, sworn at, and gossiped about, but she always turned the other cheek. Since Tom had never seen an angel, he was tempted to assign his mother’s virtues to a category of folk he had seen on the rough city streets—the simple, the touched, the witless. In Vauxhall, southwest of the City of London, Tom accompanied his mother to the factory every morning. Through the wrought-iron gates and across a windswept courtyard, they would pass Mr. Todderman greeting his employees from a parapet on the second floor of his domain. Behind him, two smokestacks from the factory released a black smear across the London skyline, while next to him, the cripple, Brandy Oxmire, clutched a slate for the purpose of marking down absences and latecomers. “Morning, Mrs. Bedlam!” her employer shouted. “God Bless, Mr. Todderman!” came the gay reply, “and thank you for Mrs. Todderman’s shoes!” Then she’d pause to