A work of dynamic history that depicts in fascinating detail the cataclysm that was the Great Fire of London and the modern European capital that rose from its ashes.
By Permission of Heaven is a thrilling account of the Great Fire of London that makes terrific use of a vast array of first-person accounts and forensic investigation. The result is an impeccable achievement in historical storytelling that calls to mind equal parts Patricia Cornwell, Sebastian Junger, and Iain Pears.
By Permission of Heaven follows the conflagration from its beginnings in a Pudding Lane baker's kitchen in 1666 through the extreme devastation it wreaked. Adrian Tinniswood recounts the horror and wonder that gripped the city as the flames spread, destroying 13,200 homes, ninety-three churches, St. Paul's Cathedral, and every administrative building in the capital. While looting, savage violence, panic, and chaos reigned within the city and war raged without, hundreds of thousands buried their most precious possessions and fled, never again to see the Lon-don they knew.
Finely depicted here are the towering figures of Restoration England, such as Charles II, Samuel Pepys, and Christopher Wren, who played critical roles in the fire and its aftermath. Tinnis-wood also brings to life the schoolchildren, servants, clerks, and courtiers of the day as they watched the streets run with fire and the greatest city in Britain disappear before their eyes.
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A magnificently told and thrilling account of one of the most dramatic events in British history.
Adrian Tinniswood?s magnificent new account of the Great Fire of London explores the history of a cataclysm and its consequences, from that first small blaze in a baker?s house in Pudding Lane in the early hours of September 2nd, 1666 to the inferno that would devastate the third largest city in the Western world. The statistics are terrible: 436 acres of closely packed streets burned; 13,200 houses destroyed; £10 million lost at a time when £10 million represented the City?s annual income for 800 years. But the Great Fire wasn?t simply a tragedy of economics or architecture. It wrecked lives and destroyed livelihoods. It killed and maimed, and it drove Londoners mad in their quest for vengeance.
By Permission of Heaven pieces together the untold human story of the Fire and its aftermath -- the panic and terror, the bewilderment and violence and chaos, the search for scapegoats, the rebirth of a city. Above all, it provides an unsurpassable recreation of what happened to schoolchildren and servants, courtiers and clergymen when the streets of London ran with fire and ?by ye Permission of Heaven, Hell broke loose upon this Protestant City.?
From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren:
“Lively, knowledgeable, affectionate…a fine biography.” -- Sunday Times
“Powered by an engrossing passion for its subject.” -- Andrew Motion, Financial Times
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