The Black Madonna
Roundheads & Cavaliers, no. 2
By July 1639, England has become a simmering cauldron of discontent. Less concerned by this than by his ailing finances, King Charles seeks ways of filling his empty treasury. Enter Luciano Falcieri del Santi - master-goldsmith and money-lender; a man known to London as The Italian ... and possessed of a hidden agenda.
From his seat in the House of Commons, Richard Maxwell watches the inexorable approach of Civil War. His eldest son, Eden, struggles to save his marriage to Royalist-bred Celia whilst taking up his sword for the Parliament; and daughter, Kate, vows to hold their home against both Cavalier and Roundhead should the need arise.
A spirited red-head, Kate takes most things in her stride. The only thing she finds impossible to handle is her involuntary and growing attraction to the razor-tongued, magnetic and diabolically beautiful Luciano del Santi.
The paths of Richard Maxwell and Luciano cross by chance one dark night and a friendship is born. But while, on the surface, Luciano merely operates his business from Cheapside, he actually has a much darker purpose; that of learning the truth behind his father's execution. This, with the country becoming a battlefield is difficult - but it is not Luciano's only problem. Soon, he also begins to realise that unless he is extremely lucky his quest will cost him his life.
His own safety and that of everyone he cares about rests on success. Only this will allow him to reclaim the Black Madonna and offer his heart to the girl he loves.
From the machinations within Parliament to the last days of the King's cause, The Black Madonna is an epic saga of passion and intrigue at a time when England was lost in a dark and bloody conflict.