I love writing international stories because it offers the chance to explore some of the greatest—and least talked about—places in the world. This week, I’m happy to share Saint Paul’s cathedral with you.
Saint Paul’s cathedral is spotlighted in In the Dead of the Night. Leila, a German spy who’s switched allegiance to the Allied cause, is lured back into the shadows when her child is abducted. One of the novel’s climaxes occurs in the famous crypt of Saint Paul’s. The crypt is the final resting place of some of the world’s greatest heroes, poets, and scientists.
A bit of history
An Anglican church, the modern Saint Paul’s is not the first church (or even house of worship) to be built on the site. An ancient Roman temple to Diana was replaced by a church dedicated to The Apostle Paul in AD 604. However, that church succumbed to fire and its replacement was destroyed by raiding Vikings.
In 1087 another cathedral on the same site also burned to the ground. A fourth cathedral was built but it too was destroyed by the Fire of London in 1666. A decade later, master architect Christopher Wren’s plans for a new Saint Paul’s cathedral were approved and the Saint Paul’s we now recognize was completed in 1710.
Back to the story
Leila is ordered to carry out an assassination in the Crypt of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. I had immense fun writing this scene. It made for phenomenal research—and an awkward email on my part to museum staff asking where would be the best spot to carry out this assassination!
While they weren’t as helpful as I would have hoped, I’ve heard it said that the high-stakes scene is to die for.
During WW2, an unexploded bomb landed in the nave of the chapel and was removed at great risk. Truly, one can argue that Saint Paul’s is an architectural example of resilience and resurrection.
If you’ve been there, let me know!