'Please, sir, I want some more.' "Oliver Twist" sent out shock waves when it appeared in 1838. With a half-starved orphan for a hero, it was Dickens' first attempt to rouse the public conscience over the social evils of his day. A parade of memorable characters drives the author's message home: Mr Bumble, the workhouse beadle; Fagin, who runs a den of child thieves; Oliver's streetwise friend, the Artful Dodger; Nancy, the prostitute; and her lover, brutal Bill Sikes. The adventures of the innocent Oliver - from workhouse to London's underworld, and how he was rescued - is one of Dickens' most popular stories.