My historical novel ‘Galileo’s Revenge’ is set in sixteenth-century Florence, ruled by the Medici Dukes of Tuscany. Originally a family of merchants and bankers, the Medici dominated the government and culture of Florence
‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A lot can be fatal.’
Florence, October 1587. Francesco de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany collapses whilst out hunting with his ambitious younger brother, the Cardinal Ferdinand. Soon the Duke is dead. Officially the Cardinal insists that his brother has died of a malarial fever. But secretly an investigation begins to find the killer – or a suitable scapegoat?
Galileo, a brilliant, impecunious, and unscrupulous young scientist, is struggling to make a name for himself at the corrupt court of the Medici. He is horrified to be arrested as the Duke’s murderer: nothing burns so well as a wicked magician! His only hope is to find the real killer – or, at least, a better scapegoat. His search takes him through the piazzas and palaces of Florence, through the barber-shops and brothels, the cloisters and the taverns. Especially the taverns.
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The inspiration behind the book…
In my novel ‘Galileo’s Revenge’, our hero Galileo Galilei has to solve the suspicious death of Grand Duke Francesco de’ Medici (1541-87). In the course of his investigation, Galileo turns to the work of French barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré (c.1510-90), especially the treatise on poisons.
The banner image at the top of this page is ‘Venus and Cupid with a Lute Player’ by Titian © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge