For more than two thousand years, Old London Bridge evolved through many fragile wooden forms until it became the first bridge built of stone since the Roman invaders. With over two hundred houses and shops built directly upon the bridge, it was a wonder of the world until it was dismantled in 1832. In this stunningly original novel, Old London Bridge is as much a living, breathing character as its architect, the priest Peter de Colechurch, who began work on it in 1176, partly to honour Archbishop Thomas a Becket, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1665, the year of the Great Plague, Peter's history is unknown, but Daryl Braintree, a poet living on the bridge, resurrects him through inspired flights of imagination. As Daryl chronicles the history of the bridge and composes poems about it, he reads his work to his witty mistress, who prefers making love. Among other key characters is Lucien Redd, who as a boy was sexually brutalised by both Puritans and Cavaliers during the English Civil War before being kidnapped off London Bridge onto a merchant ship. Thus traumatised, he aspires to become Lucifer's most evil disciple. Twenty years later, young Morgan Wood is forced into seafaring service to pay off his father's debts; and, compelled by obsessive nostalgia for his early life on the bridge, he keeps a journal. Joining Morgan aboard ship, Lucien "befriends" him-to devastating effect. The shops and houses on the bridge survive both the Great Plague and Great Fire, believed to be God's wrath upon sinful London. Fearing that God may next destroy the bridge and its eight hundred denizens, seven of its merchant leaders revert to a pagan appeasement ritual by selecting one of their virgin daughters for sacrifice. To enact their plan, they hire Lucien, who has returned to the bridge to burn it out of pure meanness. But as Lucien discovers, the chosen victim may be more Lucifer's favourite than he is.