© 2019 Alana Bolton Cooke

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti has risen into Rome’s artistic elite, and the ailing Pope Clement VII commissions him to paint The Last Judgement on the Sistine Chapel’s wall. When the artist apprentices Tommaso, a young handsome nobleman, to be his muse and inspiration, Michelangelo must contend with the conflict between his growing love and his eternal damnation. Rumours of their relationship lead the paranoid Cardinal da Cesena to bribe members of Michelangelo’s household to discover the truth behind the rumours.

Can Michelangelo hide his feelings from both the church and himself, or will The Last Judgement destroy him?


In April, Cloud Ink Press launches the debut novel of New Zealand author Alana Bolton Cooke. A Splendid Sin is the story of Michelangelo and the affair which coincided with the painting of The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Alana Bolton Cooke based the book on extensive research of the period and of Michelangelo himself, and outlines the religious fervour at a time when the Catholic Church itself was under threat. Having been commissioned by Pope Clement, a member of the powerful Medici family, to paint the vast wall of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo is at the same time in a relationship with a young nobleman, Tommaso de Cavalieri. The enormous painting, The Last Judgement reflects Michelangelo’s own conflict between love, the love of his Faith and eternal damnation.

Review copies upon request. Alana Bolton Cooke is available for interviews – please contact Mark Johnson at Cloud Ink 


A Splendid Sin will be available for purchase from all good bookshops from 16 April and will also be available to purchase direct from the publisher at Cloud Ink


Media materials, including high quality images of the cover, are available for download from Cloud Ink


Publication date: 16 April 2019



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), called The Sword and the Sun.


Alana has published articles for a newspaper and magazine, and a short story for the Listener. For the last two years she has beenparticipating in a critique group at AUT. A Splendid Sin is her debut novel.