Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens is a disturbing and powerful blend of Gothic melodrama and historical realism. This novel was Charles Dickens's first historical novel. Barnaby Rudge was published serially starting in 1840 in Master Humphrey's Clock. The story takes place against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots, the most destructive social unrest in London in the eighteenth century. Dickens's Barnaby Rudge is a story which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. There are vivid scenes of pillage, battles and executions as well as myriad characters who are grim, romantic and humorous.