First published in March 1722, 57 years after the event that struck more than 100,000 people, A Journal of the Plague Year is a compelling portrait of life during London's horrific bubonic plague.
Through the eyes of H.F. (speculated to be Defoe's uncle, Henry Foe, from whose journals the book was supposedly adapted) we witness great grief, depravity and despair: crazed sufferers roam the streets, unearthly screams resound across the city, death carts dump their grisly loads into mass graves, and quackery and skullduggery feed on fear.
But there is kindness and courage too, as mutual support and caring are upheld through the worst of days.
Defoe's Journal is considered one of the most accurate accounts of the plague, and includes many contemporary theories about the disease, along with rolls of the dead and a literary mapping of London, street by street, parish by parish.
It is a fascinating and intimate account from one of the earliest proponents of the novel.