(Hutchinson/Penguin Random House)


  • The Times, Historical Fiction Book Of The Month, July 2021: Expect gritty language and much enjoyment from this clever and unusual novel.
  • Wildly anachronistic, full of sex and swearing, this fourth novel by the author of The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle is an entertaining and often very funny read with something to say about both the love of power and the power of love. The Sunday Times
  • The brilliant fourth novel by British author Blackmore is a remarkable act of literary ventriloquism...'Wolf Hall' meets 'Succession' Apple Books


The kingdom of love is a frightening place. A dangerous place. What kind of fool wants to live there?

How have I, Francis Bacon, well-known as the cleverest man in England, been caught in this trap? For years I survived the brutal games of the English court, driven by the whims of the idiot King James I - and finally, I was winning. Forget what my friends Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare say about love. I had that which men truly crave above all else: power.

But now, at the moment of my greatest success, a deadly alliance of my enemies has begun closing in on me. Led by the King's beautiful and poisonous lover Carr, this new alliance threatens to turn our foolish King against me, so that I may rot in the Tower.

I refuse to go down without a fight. I have concocted a brilliant new plan: I will find my own beguiling young man and supplant Carr in the King's bed, and take power for myself. All I need to do is find him, my beautiful and mysterious creature, my perfect chess move. 

In the dangerous kingdom of love, those who understand desire win. And I intend to win, at all costs.







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© Neil Blackmore