"Popular narrative history at its best, well researched, imaginatively and dramatically written. . . . The author marshals his story and his mass of contemporary quotations with great skill."
—Times Literary Supplement
"The brilliance of its narrative chapters . . . a marvelous eye for evocative detail. Hanson’s prose is animated by the ferocious energy of the fire and seems to be guided by its inexorable movement. He creates the literary equivalent of the special effects in a disaster movie. . . . A rich mixture of imagination and research."
—The Daily Telegraph (London)
"He writes with knowledge and verve. As if making a television documentary on a natural disaster, he includes a gripping technical chapter on the mechanism and chemistry of combustion. This works brilliantly. . . . The book gains immeasurably from the author's eye for detail and from his understanding of the beliefs and prejudices of the day. . . . Informative and lively account."
—The Sunday Times (London)
"The best depiction of the Great Fire seen to date. . . . He manages to describe not only the atmosphere of the event itself, but also the experience of living in seventeenth-century Britain."
"A riveting book for those who like their history with a bit of mystery."
—The Brisbane News
"A rollicking good yarn."
—The Age (Melbourne)
"Blends high-class original research with a narrative style that mimics fiction. . . . Horrific subjects have served this man well and he has a knack for plugging into the dark themes that run like molten rivers beneath our social veneer."
—New Zealand Herald
"Neil Hanson’s descriptions of the inferno are like CNN reports from Kosovo."
—Camden New Journal
"It's not the technical data which makes the book so riveting though. It's the flair with which Hanson invests his account with qualities usually reserved for novels–narrative drive, persuasive character sketches, vivid scene stealing."
—Sunday Star Times (New Zealand)