Garrett Mattingly's thrilling narrative sets out the background of the sixteenth-century European intrigue and religious unrest that gave rise to one of the world's most famous maritime crusades and the naval battles that decided its fate. In putting the naval campaign of 1588 back into the context of the first great international crisis of modern history, Mattingly builds up, like the movements of a symphony, a broad picture of how events of the time affected men's actions, plans and hopes.
He brilliantly connects a series of scenes or episodes, shifting the point of focus from England to the continent and from courts to ships and cities.
The feeling of tension mounts to a crescendo throughout Europe as the great drama of the Armada is approached.
The battle itself and the aftermath are so vividly and poignantly described that they might be happening in our world today. 'A rare and wonderful book, as readable and exciting as a novel, amazingly fresh and stimulating in its approach to a great subject, and impressive for the wide range and authority of its scholarship.' J.E.