After writing Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby, the author next turned to historical fiction, using the notorious Gordon Riots of 1780, a clash between Catholics and Protestants, as the backdrop for this novel. It's a dark story but one that yields rich prose and a murder mystery. Narrator Sean Barrett has the kind of elastic, wide-ranging voice that is well suited to Dickens's writing style. Barrett can affect a sprightly youngster, a wise but weathered old man, a scheming politician, and an assortment of women, all of whom play major roles in this classic tale. It's a joy to listen to him alternate between characters and his own deep, robust voice, an accomplishment he keeps up for 25 hours.
Barnaby Rudge, one of only two historical novels by Dickens, deals with the "Popery" riots of 1780. It is read here by one of Britain's most popular readers, Sean Barrett, whose reading of Bleak House was widely praised. This recording is part of the extended Dickens collection offered in both abridged and unabridged form by Naxos AudioBooks.