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Like everyone else, I am discovering that it is easier to make plans than to carry them out. I should be looking forward to promo-tours on both sides of the Atlantic in connection with The Mayflower Pilgrims, published to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of that tiny group of Christian separatists regarded by most Americans as the founding fathers of the USA. Coronavirus has put a stop to that – whether temporarily or permanently awaits to be seen. C'est la vie and, though I am not available to answer questions about it, the book can speak for itself. Needless to say, if anyone wants to engage me in conversation about it via the internet I am ready and willing to hear from them.

Now, it's a matter of onward and upward. My next novel The Cromwell Enigma will be on the bookshelves this September. 'Not another book about Thomas Cromwell,' you might be thinking. 'Over the last few years the story of this remarkable man has been treated and re-treated on the printed page and the television screen. Surely, there is nothing more to be said.' If that really were the case it would be irresponsible of me to take readers over the same ground yet again. And it would be hard for me to justify breaking my own rule about not writing fictional accounts of the lives of real people.

The truth is that the Cromwell story has not been told – not in its entirety. The enigma remains. Not until he was approaching his fortieth birthday in the early 1520s did this lawyer-cum-international businessman enter the service of Thomas Wolsey. From that point on his rise and fall are well documented. But who was he? What influences had gone into his making during his most formative years? Where had he spent those years? Most intriguingly of all, in that age of violently confrontational religious convictions, what did Thomas Cromwell really believe? It is important to pose these questions of one of the twin founders of the Church of England. Someone needs to do it. Well, I've had a crack at it. I hope you will read The Cromwell Enigma and that, if you do, you will let me know what you think of it. Here follows a summary.

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The Cromwell Enigma

Thomas Cromwell was a man with many friends – and not only in England. News of his arrest for treason ran like a shockwave through Europe. One man who heard it with dismay was the scholar and poet, Nicholas Bourbon, who owed his own life to Cromwell's intervention years earlier. Bourbon was currently serving in the household of Queen Marquerite of Navarre, the most cultured ruler in Europe and at her behest he travelled to England charged with obtaining first-hand knowledge of the situation there.

Thus began a series of strange and dangerous adventures that led him to London, Antwerp, Florence and then, once more, to England and the court of Henry VIII. It turned out to be a journey back through time for Bourbon as he sought out who had known Cromwell in his early years – family, friends, business associates, those who shared his Reformed faith, as well as those who hated the 'upstart from Putney' and all he stood for. The dark quest uncovered many secrets – but none darker than the one that finally revealed the traumatic events that overturned the life of Thomas Cromwell – and, therefore, of England.