One of the two Historical novels Charles Dickens wrote, Barnaby Rudge is set around the ‘Gordon’ riots in London in 1780. The story begins in 1775 with Barnaby, his Mother, and his talking Raven Grip, fleeing their home from a blackmailer, and going into hiding. Joe Willet similarly finds he must leave his home to escape his Father’s ire, leaving behind the woman he loves. Five years later these characters, and many others whose lives we have followed, find themselves caught up in the horrific Protestant rioting led by Sir George Gordon. The mob which reaches 100,000 strong, gets out of hand, and there is danger to all in the path of their destruction. Charles Dickens skillfully weaves the lives of his many loving and many wicked characters through the rioting, and shows how this uprising changes so many lives. As a side note, Edgar Allan Poe is said to have been inspired by Barnaby’s raven Grip when he wrote his famous poem,”The Raven”.
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