Cover 9781785907920

Of all revenge, the greatest is this: that which cometh suddenly, without expectation.


Jesse Norman is the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire. As Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2021, he managed the UK furlough scheme and other pandemic support measures. He was made a Privy Councillor in 2019. Jesse is the author of acclaimed biographies of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith - and now joins us to talk on his first novel which has been met with wide acclaim.


Power is shifting. Queen Elizabeth I is dying, James waiting to become King. Everywhere, there is opportunity to ascend. But who will thrive, and who will fail, under the new King? Will it be the scholar Francis Bacon, whose brilliant mind is the envy of the royal court? Or his hated rival the attorney Edward Coke, already acclaimed as the greatest lawyer of his generation?

The Winding Stair tells the gripping story of these two founders of our modern world and their battle for power, pre-eminence - and the hand of the most eligible woman in the realm.

Combining humour, wit and imagination with deep research, this novel is a dazzling synthesis of history and fiction that takes the genre to new places. It is an epic tale of jealousy and intrigue in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, which, in its lowest moments, holds a darkened mirror to our own contemporary politics.

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