The news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation on Monday 11 February came as a considerable surprise, even to seasoned Vatican watchers, and not least to me and my agent, Andrew Lownie. I spent much of last year writing my book on the 1559 conclave in the hope that it would be published in time to take advantage of the next papal election, an event I assumed was still a year or two away. With commendable speed, Andrew decided to seize the moment and use the book to launch his own in-house publishing venture. There was no time to get the illustrations, nor to add an index, we had just the raw text and a cover photograph. It all happened incredibly quickly. On the Wednesday, two days after the shock announcement, Conclave was out.
23 February 2013