A Splendid Sin

Book Cover


17th Century or Earlier

Alana Bolton Cooke

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An historical novel based on a Renaissance love affair in the life of the sculptor and painter Michelangelo. His love for a young man, his conflict with his conscience and relationship with the church during the painting of 'The Last Judgement' in the Sistine Chapel.


LGBT,Religious,Historical Fiction,Romance

Short Summary

The death of Michelangelo's mother when he is six years old and the relationship with his brothers, Father and friend, Bernardino. His talent leading to his apprenticeship in art and his relations to the Medici family.

Michelangelo is dying and is attended by his friend and one-time lover Tommaso de Cavalieri. Michelangelo reminisces in his mind, going through his artistic works and The Last Judgement. The figures involved are real to him in his dying moments. Tommaso is with him at the end.


Florence, Italian countryside and Rome,

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest,Other

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Other

Mature Audience Themes


Main Character Details

Name: Michelangelo Buonarroti

Age: 50's

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Complex,Educated,Religious,Secretive,Outspoken,Lone Wolf

Additional Character Details

Name: Tommaso de Cavalieri

Age: 20's

Gender: Male

Role: Tempter

Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Confident,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Educated,Honorable

Additional Character Details

Name: Bernardino Basso

Age: 50's

Gender: Male

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Underdog,Obedient,Uneducated,Selfless

Additional Character Details

Name: Febo di Poggio

Age: early twenties

Gender: Male

Role: skeptic

Key Traits: Aspiring,Badass,Charming,Complex,Confident,Greedy,Insecure,Naive,Villainous,Secretive,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

Development Pitch

'A Splendid Sin' is a love-story. It is set in the stunning early Renaissance, Florence and Rome especially the countryside and the Medici and Vatican courts. Michelangelo Buonarroti (50's) falls in love with Tommaso de Cavalieri (20's) a handsome Roman nobleman. Tommaso becomes his muse, inspiration and apprentice as Michelangelo paints 'The Last Judgement' on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. This was commisioned by Pope Clement VII and Pope Paul III who encourages Michelangelo to complete it. Michelangelo pious and diligent in his faith is conflicted through his desire of Tommaso and his love for the Church, but he finds Tommaso hard to resist. Will they consummate their relationship? His enemies, who object to his relationship and nudity in his paintings, set out to discredit him in the church. He finishes the painting but what about the relationship that nearly brings him to religious, psychological and emotional ruin? People would be interested to see it in film or tv if they are art lovers, interested in Michelangelo and his works, the Vatican and its history. Those who are gay, would relate to the story including some members of the LGBT community who have a similar conflict with the church today. This story would adapt to film or TV readily with the stunning settings of Florence and Rome and the colour and pomp involved in the Vatican, and the extraordinary paintings of the Sistine Chapel.

About The Author

Alana worked as a Registered Nurse in New Zealand and England. After marrying she went to live in Christchurch New Zealand. Here she went to the University of Canterbury as a mature student and majored in English, completing BA Hons in English Literature and MA in English Literature. Her thesis was about Angela Carter’s ‘The Passion of New Eve’. She completed a Master of Creative Writing at AUT, writing a novel about the War of the Spanish Succession (The Battle of Blenheim and the Duke of Marlborough). She has published articles for a newspaper and magazine, and a short story for the Listener.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal,LGBT Leaning,Other

Group Specific

art historians, LGBT, general readership

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Cloud Ink Press

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available