Andrew Taylor

City In Flames

By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London


Jonathan Cape 330pp £20 order from our bookshop

LONDON IS ABLAZE, and the Duke of York (the future James 11) is in the Inner Temple, struggling to prevent the conflagration spreading. As the gunpowder is prepared to clear a fire-break, a lawyer who was standing by pushes forward to warn that the ancient privileges and charters of the Temple forbid the destruction of any of its buildings. At that point, amid the smoke and sparks and sweat, one of England’s heroes steps forward.

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