‘Strip yourselves naked, all of you,’ Machiavelli advised. Machiavelli in Hell is a portrait of a naked civil servant, whom we first encounter when he is busy ‘on the job’. That title refers to Machiavelli’s duties as a secretary-ambassador to the Italian government, though for the English reader it might have other connotations. As a Professor of Political Philosophy at Rutgers University, Sebastian de Grazia is admirably equipped to expose Machiavellian machinations , introducing us to such wonderful figures as Savonarola engaged in the Yes, Minister tactics of denying a denial. There are the Borgias, the Medicis, murder and mayhem in late medieval Florence, and the delightfully devilish character of old ‘Niccolo’ himself. What a glorious setting for a novel by Hilary Mantel or Rose Tremain.