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The Great Plague: The Diary of Alice Paynton is the seventh book in Scholastic UK's My Story series. The book was written by Pamela Oldfield; her first for the series. It was first published in November 2001, and reissued three times in May 2008, October 2014, and January 2020 with new cover art. The book was followed by The '45 Rising.

Book description[]

"July 3rd 1665
Aunt Nell came home from the market looking very pale. She overheard two men discussing the Weekly Bills of Mortality. It seems that in the past week 700 people have died from the plague. So the plague is well and truly come to London after all. After much discussion I am to be sent to Wodwich with Aunt Nell. I refused to go without Poppet and Papa has relented. I was sent to enquire of a carrier but was soon stopped in my tracks. One of the houses in the next street had a red cross painted on the door. Above the cross someone had chalked, "Lord Have Mercy Upon Us."

"It's 1665 and Alice is looking forward to being back in London. But the plague is spreading quickly, and as each day passes more red crosses appear on doors.
When her aunt is struck down with the plague, she is forced to make a decision that could change her life forever...

""Who are you to give us orders?" one of them shouted. "Get yourself back to London. 'Tis all you're fit for."
It's 1665, and Alice is excited to be back in her beloved London. But the plague is spreading, and each day more red crosses mark the doors of the sick. When her aunt becomes ill, Alice is forced to make a decision that could change her life forever. But will she be able to get the papers that allow her to leave? Will she be able to find safety away from home?

"Partage le journal intime d'Alice et affronte avec elle les fléaux d'une année maudite.
3 Juillet 1665. Tante Nell est revenue toute pâle du marché. Elle a entendu deux hommes discuter : la semaine dernière, sept cents personnes sont mortes de la maladie. Le peste s'est bel et bien installée à Londres. Une longue discussion a cu lieu à la maison, et je vais devoir partir pour Woolwich avec tante Nell. J'ai refusé de m'en aller sans mon chien et papa a cédé. Au moins Poppet apportera un peu de joie à la ferme. On m'a envoyée me ren seifner sur les horaires des péniches, mais quelque chose m'a arrêtée en chemin : une croix rouge était peinte sur une porte de la ruc voisine. Au-dessus de la croix était écrit : "Dieu air pitié de nous."


Historical Note[]


Main article: List of The Great Plague characters




  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail from Michiel Sweerts' tronie painting Portrait of a Girl. The background is a detail from a 1666 painting by an artist of the Dutch School, titled The Great Fire of London.[12][13][14]
  • Artist Richard Jones illustrated the cover of the second edition.
  • The cover of the third edition of The Great Plague features a photograph taken by Jeff Cottenden.[15]
  • The fourth edition of the book was illustrated by Euan Cook.[16]


See also[]

My Story

The Hunger | Voyage on the Great Titanic | The Crystal Palace | Blitz | My Tudor Queen | Twentieth-Century Girl
The Great Plague | The '45 Rising | Civil War | Trafalgar | The Trenches | Battle of Britain | Mill Girl | Transported
Armada | Crimea | Bloody Tower | Indian Mutiny | Zulu War | Mayflower | Agincourt | Suffragette | Waterloo | Slave Girl
Flying Ace | Anne Boleyn and Me | D-Day | Victorian Workhouse | Spy Smuggler | Desert Danger | War Nurse
U-Boat Hunter | The Queen's Spies

1st relaunch

Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Road to War | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Highway Girl | Sophie's Secret War
The Storm to Come | The Sweep's Boy | The Fall of the Blade | Pyramid of Secrets | Factory Girl | Dodger!
No Way Back | Wartime Princess | London Stories | Berlin Olympics | Lady Jane Grey | Nowhere to Run

2nd relaunch

Codename Céline

3rd relaunch

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Ignatius Sancho | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh | Mary Prince

My Royal Story

Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

My True Story

What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote!

My Story navigation
← Publication →
Twentieth-Century Girl The '45 Rising
← Chronology →
Civil War Highway Girl

External links[]