My new book is published by Bodley Head in the UK and Palgrave Macmillan in the US (under the title The Divorce of Henry VIII). It's been featured on BBC Radio 4's Open Book programme, and BBC Radio 3's Night Waves. Gabo will be publishing a Hungarian translation later in the year.
Our Man in Rome is set in the six-year period of Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. It's the story of Gregorio Casali, Henry VIII’s ambassador in Rome from 1525 to 1533, but also the first book-length account of the diplomatic intrigues behind the divorce for several decades.
Latest blog reviews, guest posts and Q&As:
Open Letters Monthly: Review
On The Tudor Trail: Q&A about writing the book
On The Tudor Trail: Guest post on Tudor sites in Italy
Birkbeck Early Modern Intelligencer: Review
The Anne Boleyn Files: Review
The Anne Boleyn Files: Guest post on who's who in the diplomacy of Henry's divorce
LibraryThing: Q&A about writing the book
Tea At Trianon: Review
A Trumpet of Sedition: Review
Our Man in Rome: Henry VIII and his Italian Ambassador
Divorce. Deceit. Diplomacy.
1527. Gregorio ‘The Cavalier’ Casali is Henry VIII’s man in Rome. An Italian freelance diplomat, he charmed his way into the English service before he was twenty. But now he faces an almighty challenge. Henry wants a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and Casali must persuade Pope Clement VII of his master’s case. Set against the backdrop of war-torn Renaissance Italy, Our Man in Rome weaves together tales from the grubby underbelly of Tudor politics with a gripping family saga to reveal the extraordinary true story behind history’s most infamous divorce. Through six years of cajoling, threats and bribery, Casali lives by his wits. He manoeuvres his brothers into lucrative diplomatic postings, plays off one master against another, dodges spies, bandits and noblemen alike. But as the years pass and Henry’s case drags on, his loyalties are increasingly suspected. What will be Casali’s fate?
Drawing on hundreds of hitherto-unknown archive documents, Our Man in Rome reconstructs his tumultuous life among the great and powerful at this turning point for European history. From the besieged Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome to the splendours of Greenwich Palace, we follow his trail in the service of Henry VIII. Lavish ceremony and glamorous parties stand in contrast to the daily strains of embassy life, as Casali pawns family silver to pay the bills, fights off rapacious in-laws and defends himself in the face of Anne Boleyn’s wrath. This stunning book will make you think anew about Tudor history.
"A glittering debut." - Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times
"A scholarly but wonderfully entertaining book." - Jonathan Wright, The Herald
"A marvel of close-up detective work." - Duncan Fallowell, The Express
"Reclaims a period of history all too often simplified... a cracking story." - Sarah Vine, The Times