Oliver Twist is born in the harsh confines of a workhouse, his mother expiring in childbirth, his father unknown. After enduring years of brutal treatment, Oliver runs away to London, where he falls in with a band of child pickpockets led by the villainous Fagin. His foray into a life of crime soon lands him into the arms of the law, when Oliver's fortunes finally appear to turn as the robbery victim becomes his benefactor. But Fagin isn't about to let his young recruit go so easily, and with vicious thug Bill Sikes among his henchmen, Oliver soon finds himself back in the criminals' lair, with many more travails to face on the tortuous and torturous road todiscovering the truth about his past. In Oliver Twist Dickens exposes the sordid underbelly of Victorian England, where rootless young innocents are at the mercy both of brutal institutions and the corrupting forces that lurk on the streets.