What News on the Rialto?
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.
Scholars have often mused about the possibility that the great bard might have travelled, with Italy as the prime suspect. After all, almost a third of his plays are set in that country, and many of them paint a tantalising picture of Italian life and customs. But how and why would he have gone there? And what adventures might he had had that later found their way into his plays?
The Diplomat of Florence
Florence, 1498. The long rule of the Medici is over and a new regime has emerged from the turbulence, a genuine republic of the people. But Florence is a weak state, beset on all sides and threatened by a new warlord who is rampaging across northern Italy – Cesare Borgia.
Onto this stage steps Niccolò Machiavelli, young and inexperienced but destined to become his city’s leading diplomat. During his long duel with 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. He reaches the heights of power and influence, but 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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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‘
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