Spring 1523. Benjamin Daunbey and his rapscallion servant, Roger Shallot, are summoned to London. A Florentine envoy, Lord Francesco Abrizzi, has been murdered and King Henry is determined to unmask the perpetrators of this outrage. In London, Shallot experiences King Henry's rage, the insults of the Abrizzis and a murderous attack. Shallot, a born coward, wants to crawl away and hide, but the King and Wolsey insist that he and Benjamin go to Florence, find Abrizzi's assassin, deliver a secret message, and bring back a Florentine painter. It sounds simple enough -- but the reality is murderously different.
Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.