20 May 2018

Special Guest post by Caroline Angus, Author of Frailty of Human Affairs (Queenmaker Series)

Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US

The moderate man shall inherit the kingdom.
That man needs to be the Queenmaker.
Cromwell and Frescobaldi will place themselves into the heart of religious and political influence as they strive to create an English queen, or lose their heads for their crimes and sinful secrets.

It would easy to dismiss books on Thomas Cromwell, as the market has felt saturated in recent years. But when people ask why I chose to write a trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, I am happy to say there still feels plenty of room to create a fresh face for a man often covered in fiction. The first book in this unusual tale is already available, with plenty more still to come. 

A new perspective

Frailty of Human Affairs (an expression used by Cromwell himself in 1534), starts in 1529, when Cromwell is still devoted to Thomas Wolsey, just prior to the legatine court assembling to rule on King Henry’s marriage to Queen Katherine. 

This pivotal moment in history brings in a new character, Nicòla Frescobaldi, the son of a wealthy merchant in Florence. Nicòla’s father, Francesco Frescobaldi, was the man who found a young starving, homeless Englishman on the Florentine streets in around 1500 and took him in as an apprentice. 

For Cromwell’s beloved patron’s only son to arrive in England on his doorstep gives Cromwell the opportunity to rekindle the mysterious years he spent in Italy before returning to England as a refined and educated man. 

A complicated reality

Cromwell’s life in the years between the legatine court of 1529 and the birth of Princess Elizabeth in 1533 were ones of a remarkable rise, borne out of a combination of charm, education, savvy law-making and a fervent passion to save English religion from itself. 

Cromwell desperately wanted to give the king what he wanted – Anne Boleyn – and this novel delves into the perspectives of Cromwell and Frescobaldi, who combine their talents to win the trust of a king, but also personally suffer as the king holds power over their complicated weaknesses.

But why read?

Frailty of Human Affairs tells the complex tale of a well-known period, seen through the eyes of both Cromwell and Frescobaldi, two people skirting around the big names of history. Cromwell is a baseborn Englishman and Frescobaldi is the bastard child of a wealthy foreigner tied to the powerful Medici dynasty. 

There is no need for a hero or a villain, as Cromwell and Frescobaldi are both, whether a cardinal need to die, a king needs to be consoled, a mistress needs to be entertained or a family needs to be healed. Cromwell and Frescobaldi have many similarities and remarkable differences that create a loving bond no one else understands.

A darker chapter

Shaking the Throne (Sept. 2018) tells the story of Cromwell and Frescobaldi’s involvement in the destruction of the Catholic Church and the beheading of Anne Boleyn, covering the years of Elizabeth’s 1533 birth to the Pilgrimage of Grace in late 1536. 

Power and influence mean little if you have no safety, but Cromwell and Frescobaldi continue to rise high. Total loyalty from the king, a strong friendship with Henry Fitzroy, having friends in every position and even having the ear of Anne Boleyn might not be enough when powerful Catholic forces come together. Cromwell and Frescobaldi’s secrets will be exploited by the Seymour family to change the course of English history.

How many heads will be claimed?

No Amour Against Fate (Sept. 2019) details the crushing of the 1536 Pilgrimage of Grace, the creation of Anne of Cleves and Cromwell’s final betrayal that led to his rapidly regretted death in 1540. Whether Frescobaldi’s small head is alongside Cromwell’s on a bloodied spike is something readers need to wait and see. 

While history can answer many questions about the life of the incredible Thomas Cromwell, by adding in new fictional characters, stemming from real-life friendships, means that readers can be entertained to the last page.

The best and worst

The best part of writing the Queenmaker Series is getting to see how far I can push readers to still side with Cromwell and Frescobaldi, even when they are wrong. I like to have protagonists who do good and bad and take readers along for the ride.

The worst part is once the book is out and reviews are needed. I am terrified of reviews but still rely on them for the book to survive in Amazon’s difficult algorithms. Always review books when you read, positive or negative!

Caroline Angus

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About the Author

Caroline Angus is a sailmaker turned author based in Auckland, New Zealand. Having studied, worked and lived in New Zealand, Spain, and the U.K, she has produced modern-day thrillers with the bestselling Canna Medici series, and then the Spanish Civil War based Secrets of Spain series, created after studying in mass graves and bullfighting rings. The Queenmaker Series is the first in a large set of English history novels. Find out more at Caroline's website https://carolineangusbaker.com/ and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @Writer_Caroline

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