is a 2002 disaster thriller novel
by Richard Doyle
. Set in present day London, the novel depicts a disastrous flood and fire of London, caused by a storm, and the consequential accident at an oil refinery, and failure of the Thames Barrier
In 1953 the East coast of England was stuck by one of the worst storms of the century
. In response to this, the Thames Flood Barrier
was opened in 1984, to protect London from the danger. However global warming has resulted in raising sea levels, higher waves and more frequent extreme weather. Londoners have become complacent, thinking that the flood barrier will protect them. The events of December 19 will prove them wrong.
The Prime Minister is out of the country, leaving deputy Prime Minister, and Home Secretary Venita Maitland in charge. As the danger signs mount up, officials at all levels of the government are reluctant to take the necessary precautions, relying on margins of error, earlier missed predictions and fearing the consequences of an unnecessary evacuation.
With the water levels rising, an accident at a refinery releases vast quantities of fuels. The Thames Barrier is raised, but it proves inadequate to prevent all flooding. As the flood levels rise and the fire grows larger, more and more of London is threatened. A burning ship crashes into the Flood Barrier, and wreaks one of the flood gates, unleashing a tidal wave into central London.
Firefighters and other first responders from all around the country, supplanted by German, French and American military bravely fight against the disaster, but they can only save a fraction of those threatened.
Eventually the savior of London proves to be the same thing that threatened it, with rain from the storm extinguishing the fire.
Due to the vignette style, many characters are unnamed, and only appear in single vignettes. However, many characters are recurring throughout the book.
- Venita Maitland: Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister - With the prime minister on a visit to Australia Maitland is the most senior politician available.
- Roland Raikes: Secretary to the Civil Contingencies Committee. The Civil Servant charged with organizing the response to any emergency.
- Angus Walsh: Barrier Chief. Engineer in charge of operating the Thames Flood Barrier.
- Lauren Khan: Journalist for the Daily Telegraph.
- Claire Panton: A teacher supervising her school's trip to the Dome.
- Paul Suter: A repair gang leader on the London Underground.
- Melanie Sykes: Junior Doctor at St Thomas's Hospital Lane Fox Respitory Unit.
- Ted Turner: Capain of the Jen-0 Tug & Fireboat, escorting a VLCC to dock at Corydon Refinery
- Sophie de Salis: A banker with an office in Canary Warf.
- Chrissie de Salis: 12 year old daughter of Sophie de Salis.
- Jo Binney: Friend of Chrissie de Salis.
- Harriet Binney: Mother of Jo Binney.