Whilst primarily an account of the life of the painter Caravaggio, the machinations and intrigues of Italian life at the turn of the 17th century are vividly brought to life in this book. Caravaggio himself emerges as a fascinating, troubled genius: supremely gifted as an artist but continually clashing with authority and his peers. The book is meticulously researched and full of gems of detail. Robb is unashamedly an apologist for the actions of Caravaggio, though at times his arguments are inconsistent or tenuous. What really detracted from the book however was his infuriating inconsistency in style, veering from overly informal writing and manic use of apostrophes to unnecessarily pretentious bluster. I remain unconvinced as to the rationale behind constantly referring to Caravaggio/Michelangelo Merisi as 'M' even to the point of replacing references to him, within contemporary sources, with that single letter. These niggles aside, the book is a fine evocation of the world in which Caravaggio lived and worked - the fights, the plots, the powerbrokers, his loves and his lasting legacy of paintings which surely place him not just as the greatest painter of his age but in the all-time pantheon of master artists.