Available May 2023
Former cinema cameraman Julius Sewell journeys across Europe with his family to his sister's wedding in Rome. But this is an unusual road trip. For one thing, Julius has suffered an episode of psychosis and has only been released from hospital to travel. And then there is his family. This is Easter 1934 and Julius' stepfather and mother are keen members of Oswald Mosley's new party, the British Union of Fascists. One of Julius' half-sisters is in studying in Munich, where she dreams of meeting meet her idol, Adolf Hitler. And another half-sister is a member of the British Communist Party, and wants Julius, who is close to the bride-to-be, to wreck the coming wedding, because the groom is a rising figure in Italy's Fascist regime.
As the family motors south, to Paris, across Nazi Germany - taking in a bus tour to Dachau concentration camp - and through Mussolini's Italy to Rome, gathering relatives and a stray dog along the way, Julius' mental stability will be put sorely to the test, as will be the sanity of his relatives.
Having lived in Rome for eighteen years, Matthew has grown to know the capital and its citizens well, and his insightful and humorous account connects everything he has learned about the city with these extraordinary months, revealing the Romans through the prism of the coronavirus.