After the untimely death of his father, young Nicholas Nickleby must find a way to support his mother and younger sister. His uncle finds Nicholas a job at Dotheboy's Hall, a school in Yorkshire. Nicholas is appalled by the mistreatment of the students and ends up beating the headmaster. He and an older student named Smike flee the school and head for London, where he runs afoul of his uncle again. He and Smike join a travelling theater company, but they return to London to protect his sister from their uncle.
The novel has been adapted for stage, film or television at least seven times. The earliest theatrical version actually appeared before publication of the serialised novel was finished. Dickens's offence at this plagiarism prompted him to have Nicholas encounter a "literary gentleman" later in the novel who brags about dramatising novels before they even come out. Nicholas delivers a lengthy and heated condemnation of the practice of adapting still-unfinished books without the author's permission.
This case laminate collector's edition includes a Victorian-inspired dust jacket.