The Dangerous Kingdom of Love

The Dangerous Kingdom of Love


Brought to you by Penguin.

England, 1613. At the dazzling but brutal court of King James I, politician and philosopher Francis Bacon, the cleverest person in England, the inventor of the modern world, has a fight to survive. A life-threatening alliance of his enemies has formed around the King's exquisite but noxious lover, Carr. Bacon, always the outsider and the plotter, goes to his friend, James's neglected Queen, and together they come up with a plan. They will find their own beautiful young man, to supplant Carr in the King's bed and so defeat their enemies. Bacon then meets the thrillingly beautiful, mysteriously unreadable Villiers, whom he trains to entrance the King, but against all good sense, the two start a secret love affair. But when a shocking murder scandal rocks the English court, new battle lines are drawn at court, and the question asked: what if the beautiful boy is the cleverest person of all?

A twisting tale of court intrigue and forbidden love in the palaces, taverns and theatres of Jacobean London, with a cast of kings and queens, philosophers and playwrights, high-born aristocrats and low-born poisoners, and an astonishing suite of historical characters like Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare, James I and Anne of Denmark, the murderess Frances Carr and even Pocahontas, all told through the funny, ironic, self-aware voice of the world-changing Francis Bacon himself, THE DANGEROUS KINGDOM OF LOVE is both a darkly funny satire on liberalism and a tragic love story about the corrosive effect of power.

© Neil Blackmore 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


  • Witty, original and clever, this tale of Jacobean power and lust is a blast.
    The Times, Best Historical Fiction Novels

About the author

Neil Blackmore

Neil Blackmore is the author of five novels. His work has been acclaimed for its radical redrawing of the historical fiction form and the parameters of queer historical fiction. His third novel, The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle, was shortlisted for the Polari Prize for LGBTQ+ Fiction, and he has been celebrated as 'one of the most original voices in historical fiction today' (The Times). He lives in London.
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