'There are dozen of fascinating folk legends packed into this book'
'Lively history...[Grovier] has a sharp eye for the vivid anecdote and skilfully situates his colourful, tragic and often grim and ghastly characters in the economic, political and social landscape from the Middles Ages to the end of Victoria's reign'
'Beguiling lyricism . . . He is interested in Newgate's place in the collective psyche, 'a more intimate story' than historians have managed . . . vividly evoked'
'Grovier revels in gory tales and colourful characters linked to the place'
'A roiling, boiling, seething stew of passion and conflict.'
'The author has a keen eye for the grisly detail . . . In many ways The Gaol is an upmarket extension of The Newgate Calender, the blood-and-guts, five-volume blockbuster full of all the gory details, that was on every 18th Century bookshelf'
'Kelly Grovier's brisk and well-organised book...gives a hauntingly clear picture of the place, its inmates, the staff and, of particular delight to the reviewer, the slang they used'
'Kelly Grovier's colourful history traces how this incubator of horror and cruelty became such an iconic presence within popular history, combining a wealth of gruesome detail with portraits of the many characters associated with it'
'The text is rich in illustrative stories and annecdotes'
An enjoyable book
'A story of eyewatering misery . . . In a clear readable style that takes the reader at a pleasantly trotting pace through the centuries of oppression and inhumanity'
'Although the subject of the book is quite grim, the author tells us the history in an entertaining and easy manner which makes us want to read on... a valuable piece of research'
'Grovier's study is a sparkling tribute to a grim cultural phenomenon'
'Gripping . . . Grovier's treatment of the material organisation of the place is excellent . . . Newgate's role in the evolution of London, in the creation of crime in the public imagination, in the development of the concept of the prison, is unmatched, and Grovier relates it compellingly'
A terrific read
'Reading Grovier reminds us of the desperation, corruption and crime that swirled around Newgate'
'Grovier's book brings together the lives of forgotten figures and re-examines the prison's links with more famous individuals'
'Grovier introduces a gallery of rogues and tells their fates with relish'
'A thrilling history of a very English goal ... this book is so good, you'll want to keep your copy under lock and key,'