Iceland’s eruption that changed history

Island on Fire is published by Profile Books; order it here from Amazon UK.Laki cover cropped

The 1783 eruption of Laki is one of history’s great untold natural disasters. The Icelandic volcano spewed out a poisonous fog for eight months, but its effects lingered across Europe for years. It caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile, and created famine that may have triggered the French revolution of 1789.

Island on Fire is the story not only of a volcano but also of the people whose lives it changed, such as the pastor Jón Steingrímsson who witnessed and recorded the events in Iceland. It is the story, too, of modern volcanology and the history and potential of supervolcanoes around the world. And in the wake of the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which closed European air space, it looks at how events might transpire should Laki erupt again in our own time. “From a volcanic perspective, Europe may be entering interesting times,” says Kate Ravilious in The Guardian.

Explorer Nick Crane calls the book “a volcanic tour de force” with “terrific story-telling.” Like the sound of that? Here’s the Amazon UK link again.

A US edition will be published in the winter of 2014/2015 by Pegasus Books. Pre-order it or the Kindle version here.