´What dark history is this?´ This is the question that hangs over Dickens´s brooding novel of mayhem and murder in the eighteenth century. Set in London at the time of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots, Barnaby Rudge tells a story of individuals caught up in the mindless violence of the mob. Lord George Gordon´s dangerous appeal to old religious prejudices is interwoven with the murder mystery surrounding the father of the simple-minded Barnaby. The discovery of the murderer and his involvement in the riots put Barnaby´s life in jeopardy. Culminating in the terrifying destruction of Newgate prison by the rampaging hordes, the descriptions of the riots are among Dickens´s most powerful. Written at a time of social unrest in Victorian Britain, Barnaby Rudge explores the relationship between repression and liberation in private and public life. It looks forward to the dark complexities of Dickens´s later novels, whose characters also seek refuge from a chaotic and unstable world.