‘The most reliable and comprehensive account of the Great Plague that we possess’ Anthony Burgess In 1665 the plague swept through London claiming over 97000 lives. Daniel Defoe was just five at the time of the plague but he later called on his own memories as well as his writing experience to create this vivid chronicle of the epidemic and its victims. ‘A Journal’ (1722) follows Defoe’s fictional narrator as he traces the devastating progress of the plague through the streets of London. Here we see a city transformed: some of its streets suspiciously empty some – with crosses on their doors – overwhelmingly full of the sounds and smells of human suffering. And every living citizen he meets has a horrifying story that demands to be heard.