In order to kick-start myself after my short interlude, I have decided to feature one of my long-time favourite books today. I love The Dreadful Judgement: The True Story of the Great Fire of London especially for Neil Hanson’s vivid description of Thomas Farriner’s walk through the streets of plague-ridden London. It was a London shortly to be afflicted by a second disaster, the Great Fire. Farriner was, of course, the baker whose shop was the origin of the blaze.
Captain Thomas Bowrey lived through both the Plague and Fire before departing for nineteen years in the East Indies. Hanson’s account was one of the sources I used to reimagine his life in Wapping. However, The Dreadful Judgement is so much more than just beautifully crafted description of events and the human stories, it is also a meticulously researched historical detective story, It combines modern knowledge of the physic of fire with eye-witness accounts.
Remarkably for such a work rooted in factual research, The Dreadful Judgement is as easy to read as a novel. I never cease to enjoy it.