Although he is mentioned in neither the title nor the subtitle, Catherine Fletcher's inside story on the most momentous divorce in history is really the story of Gregorio Casali. As "our man in Rome" for the English monarch, Casali spearheaded efforts to secure a favorable judgement from Pope Clement VII. Simultaneously, Gregorio worked to advance the far-flung interests of his family, and used his family to advance the interests of his client. The manner in which these interests interacted, combined and conflicted, forms much of the drama of the story.
Fletcher writes well, smoothly guiding the reader through the intricacies of Renaissance diplomacy, although the book might have benefited from a collective introduction of all the members of the Casali family rather than a piecemeal approach. The Divorce of Henry VIII is an intriguing, informative tale of Renaissance diplomacy, even if it sheds little light on the "great matter" at its heart.