Will Shakespeare, newly returned from his adventures in Italy, has at last got his start in the career that will define his life, by joining one of London’s acting troupes, the Queen’s Men. An unexpected death while the company is on tour seems about to give him his big break, but instead he finds himself drawn reluctantly back into the murky world of espionage in a year when England faces the challenge of the Spanish Armada and the possibility of invasion.

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It’s the spring of 1585 and William Shakespeare is bored. Filled with incoherent dreams, a wife and three children anchor him to the tedious realities of life in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Then one drunken night changes all that and he finds himself in London, exiled from his family and depending on the goodwill of a friend of his father’s. A chance encounter and a new friendship launch him at last on his career, but trouble pursues him and his only opportunity to free himself lies in undertaking yet another journey – this time to Italy.

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What people have said about What News on the Rialto?

Whether you like Shakespeare, Italy, historical fiction, a cracking good story, or just a great read, this is a book I can’t recommend highly enough

One doesn’t need to know Shakespeare’s works to enjoy this book. Nicely paced, fluid writing and memorable characters – some real, some fictional – that I’d like to meet again

A very engaging account of Shakespeare’s lost years

Florence, 1498. Niccolò Machiavelli is young and inexperienced but destined to become his city’s leading diplomat. During his long duel with Cesare Borgia he will be plunged into the grim realities of power politics, negotiate with kings and popes, and learn that no-one can be trusted. Just when he reaches the heights of power and influence, when the wheel of Fate turns his falls is swift and spectacular. Yet from the depths of disgrace he emerges to write his most famous work, The Prince.

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Reviews of The Diplomat of Florence

A wonderful historical snapshot of the life of Niccolo Machiavelli.

Wildman’s writing is strikingly accessible, considering its intimidating subject, and he takes care to gently impart information about the ever-shifting political backdrop

Readers who like historical novels that embrace political manoeuvring and social change will relish this story of a young diplomat’s first experiences of a revolutionary time in his country’s history, its interactions with other countries, and the underlying forces that ultimately determine its fate.

An excellent foray into the life of Niccolo Machiavelli, his experiences with the Borgia’s, the Medici’s, the King of France, Da Vinci, and many others. One of my favorite reads of the year!

Non Fiction

In 2017, the author and his partner of thirty-five years embarked on what they had planned as a ‘gap year’ between the end of their working lives and the start of retirement proper. What followed ended up being three years spent travelling all over the Italian Peninsula. This book is the result of that journey.

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Reviews of Two Gents in Italy

Not a superficial skim, but something altogether more satisfying. – Susan Kurosawa, The Australian.

A wonderful insight into Italy, its history and culture

Whether writing about Napoleon or Michelangelo, the cities of Florence or Rome or great meals and companions, Wildman’s work is always approachable and informative.

This book takes you places you’d probably never go unless you had the luxury of weeks and months in various places in Italy.

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