The Lorenzo da Bologna Series

 Bernard Trafford was inspired by a visit to Bologna in 2015 to write an adventure novel set in that medieval city when its extraordinary towers were at their prolific and powerful families could live their lives and conduct their intrigues almost in a separate world high above the city's streets - the mid-13th Century. That first book, Song for a Spy, was published in 2018, and received positive reactions.

Bernard found himself mining such a rich seam of historical background that he swiftly felt impelled to write a sequel: Ballad of Betrayal was published in 2020. 

He feels that there is still more to tell concerning Lorenzo and his friends, and the next book in the series (working title Tears for a Tyrant) is likely to be published in the summer of 2022.

What they said about Song for a Spy: 

"Inherently fascinating, historically detailed, exceptionally well written, and engagingly compelling, Song for a Spy is an extraordinary and fully entertaining read from beginning to end.”  Midwest Book Review 

“A really enjoyable read: the historical background was well researched, and the perception of music was inspiring. I also felt convinced by the depiction of the city states of Italy at the time - the casual violence and corruption, the commitment to the arts, the confusion of political allegiances.” Amazon review


Song for a Spy

Bernard's first novel, a historical adventure story, is available via Amazon for instant download or in paperback: click here. 

How does Lorenzo, until two days before a highly-trained choirboy, though already far from innocent of the world’s cruelty, find himself at the opening of the book helpless and facing excruciating torment at the hands of powerful and ruthless men?  The tale he recounts is set in thirteenth-century Bologna, against the backdrop of a power-struggle with neighbouring Modena amid the chaos of the Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire. It leads him through kidnap, flight, political intrigue, seduction, torture and murder to the application of his skills as troubadour, scribe, eavesdropper, spy, willing but inexpert lover, unwilling but expert assassin. It reaches a bloody climax among Bologna’s corrupt potentates in their bizarre, rarefied world high in that city’s legendary medieval towers.


Ballad of Betrayal 

The thrilling sequel to Song for a Spy is also available in paperback and for instant download on Kindle via Amazon. Click here. 

A priceless relic is stolen and a captive king goes missing in a power-struggle centred on 13th-Century Bologna. In this rollicking sequel to Song for a Spy, choirboy-turned-lawyer’s clerk-turned-troubadour-turned-spy Lorenzo uncovers a plot that spells deadly peril for him and threatens chaos across the entire Holy Roman Empire.  

 Compelled to forsake his comfortable way of life, he must undergo imprisonment, ordeal, seduction, torture and siege and put his life on the line to thwart powerful conspirators and save his friends held hostage and facing certain death.



And, more generally...

Bernard Trafford has been writing widely and frequently for three decades, penning first song lyrics, then serious educational articles and books before moving into journalism. For several years he contributed a popular weekly opinion column to Newcastle's regional daily paper, The Journal, subsequently working with former Journal columnists to set up the blog-site Voice of the North

His first two novels, Song for a Spy and Ballad of Betrayal, are available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback: see above.

From around 2013 to 2020 Bernard wrote weekly educational blogs for the Tes and occasional advice-pieces for SecEd.

He was a "Leading Thinker" for the National Education Trust, writing occasional articles and comment for its website.

Bernard has advised the UK government Citizenship and Participation. He has also worked with the Council of Europe and, in 2007, co-authored with Swedish headteacher Elisabeth Bäckman a manual on the Democratic Governance of Schools for circulation among the 49 member states: drawing closely on his own professional; experience and PhD research, it has been translated into 14 languages so far. See Academic writing on school leadership for more details.

Nearly all the articles included on the pages listed left are Bernard's originals: they may have been edited in the published versions, to some of which hyperlinks are provided. They are included here in their original form to allow you to use the Search facility. 

Though he has been writing music for as long as he can remember, 2012 saw the production of Bernard's first stage script. For his contemporary/political musical Flotsam, staged at Newcastle's Royal Grammar School in June/July, he wrote not only the music and lyrics, but also the book. To read about two of his musicals that have been performed, click here or on the left. 

Bernard in a variety of guises: also with his daughters, Eleanor and Rachel