In April 1916, shortly before the commencement of the Battle of the Somme, a fire started in a vast gunpowder works located in the Kent marshes. The resulting series of explosions killed 108 people and injured many more. In a remarkable piece of storytelling, Brian Dillon recreates the events of that terrible day - and, in so doing, sheds a fresh and unexpected light on the British home front in the Great War. He offers a chilling natural history of explosives and their effects on the earth, on buildings, and on human and animal bodies. And he evokes with vivid clarity one of Britain's strangest and most remarkable landscapes - where he has been a habitual explorer for many years. The Great Explosion is a profound work of narrative, exploration and inquiry from one of our most brilliant writers.