Plague was the most deadly disease across Europe for more than four hundred years after the onset of the Black Death in the
1340s. Because of the number of its victims, the foulness of the disease, the disruption which it caused and the literature
which it generated, plague has cast a very long shadow, and its reputation is such that it still makes headlines and has the
capacity to frighten us.
As England's biggest city and an international seaport, London was especially vulnerable and
suffered periodic epidemics, some of which killed at least one-fifth of its population and brought normal life to a virtual
standstill. Only after the Great Plague of 1665 had claimed more victims than any previous outbreak was the city free from
the ravages of the disease. In this absorbing history Stephen Porter uses the voices of stricken Londoners themselves to describe
what life was like in the plague-riven capital.