From Claire Tomalin, bestselling author of "Samuel Pepys", comes "Charles Dickens", the definitive biography of our greatest novelist who brought us "Great Expectations", "Oliver Twist", "A Christmas Carol", "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Nicholas Nickleby" - for fans of Peter Ackroyd "Charles Dickens" was a phenomenon: a demonicly hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, a tireless walker and traveller, a supporter of liberal social causes, but most of all a great novelist - the creator of characters who live immortally in the English imagination: the Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick, Pip, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Lady Dedlock, and many more. At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried - against his wishes - in Westminster Abbey. Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children. "Charles Dickens: A Life" paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius. "By far the most humane and imaginatively sympathetic account yet for the general reader". (Amanda Craig, "New Statesman"). "Flawless ...fascinating". (William Boyd, "Observer"). Claire Tomalin is the author of seven highly acclaimed biographies, including "Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self", which was the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year. Her previous book on Dickens, "The Invisible Woman", an account of his relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan, won three major literary prizes. A former literary editor of the "New Statesman" and the "Sunday Times", she is married to the playright and novelist Michael Frayn.