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Two years after his reported Reichenbach Fall demise, Sherlock, who has been cleared of all fraud charges against him, returns with Mycroft's help to a London under threat of terrorist attack.

I know, there are city names with articles (like The Hague), but I've never heard someone say a London till now.

Is a London under threat of terrorist attack used here as a description of some indefinite place in London?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Jul 29 '15 at 8:40

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  • London stands for "city", which is a countable noun. "... a city (London) under threat of terrorist attack." – Mari-Lou A Jul 29 '15 at 7:00
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    In addition to the other answers, if you remove the "a", then it becomes ambiguous as to whether it is London or Sherlock who is under threat. – Simon B Jul 29 '15 at 7:34
  • Consider that there are multiple Londons, if you consider each point in time to be a different one. – Hot Licks Jul 29 '15 at 11:54
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This construction gives a sense of renewal of acquaintance or a rediscovery. Note that you can also employ the definite article.

Example

*I returned to Anthea's house after many years to find an Anthea who no longer laughed and sang. She was now a sad reflection of the Anthea I used to know.*

You can think of it as meaning "a version of".

*I returned to Anthea's house after many years to find a version of Anthea who no longer laughed and sang. She was now a sad reflection of the version of Anthea I used to know.*

There is a sense that Anthea, or London, could be in many different states. You have returned to discover which state exists in real life.

I hope that helps.

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