Simon Petherick's books
Like Fire Unbound: A Novel About London
"Petherick’s London is fascinating and engaging. His writing borders on the breath-taking. As a professional Londoner I recognise the geography as much as I recognise the abuses this town hands out to some of us. Petherick does a brilliant job of allowing us to suspend our moralising. In fact, he insists on it."
Lord Bird, Founder of The Big Issue
London is experiencing a heatwave in the summer of 2018.
A disparate cast of characters are drawn together under the gaze of a mysterious mystic as they try their best to survive in the new contemporary capital, a city of changing rules, privatised streets, gig economies, fractured traditions. As the heat beats down upon them, day after day, they each attempt differing strategies to maintain their place, to protect their futures and somehow to forge a way through the challenge of the day. And reaching across the centuries is the story of Lily Cadyman, trying to survive in the heaving city: scraping by as maid to Thomas Farriner, whose bakery in Pudding Lane was the source of the first flames which caused the Great Fire of 1666.
Like Fire Unbound is a novel about survival, where the city itself emerges as a character alongside all the others: essentially democratic, an egalitarian character like our cast who struggle to maintain their integrity in the early years of the twenty-first century, and a transformative year of the seventeenth. Like Fire Unbound weaves together the London of that terrifying summer of 1666 and the London of 2018, sweltering under a dizzying heat, building towards a seemingly inevitable crescendo.
“A slow burn in its purest form – Petherick’s fiery prose evokes a city smouldering with impassioned tensions that build towards an incendiary denouement.” Jake Arnott, Author of The Long Firm
SIMON PETHERICK has lived in London for many years. His novel English Arcadia took as its subject matter the left-wing Westminster political party of the 1940s, Common Wealth. His third novel, The Damnation of Peter Pan, focused on the fantasies of JM Barrie in The Kensington Gardens. Simon has been a part of London’s fabric all his adult life: arranging rock concerts in Hyde Park, running the fashion house Hardy Amies in Savile Row, writing and publishing books from an office in Soho.