“FASCINATING . . . Dramatic and timely.” —New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
In this grand and thrilling narrative, the author of the 200,000-copy paperback bestseller Over the Edge of the World reveals the singular adventures of Sir Francis Drake, whose mastery of the seas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I changed the course of history.
“Entrancing . . . Very good indeed.” —Wall Street Journal
Before he was secretly dispatched by Queen Elizabeth to circumnavigate the globe, or was called upon to save England from the Spanish Armada, Francis Drake was perhaps the most wanted—and successful—pirate ever to sail. Nicknamed “El Draque” by the Spaniards who placed a bounty on his head, the notorious red-haired, hot-tempered Drake pillaged galleons laden with New World gold and silver, stealing a vast fortune for his queen—and himself. For Elizabeth, Drake made the impossible real, serving as a crucial and brilliantly adaptable instrument of her ambitions to transform England from a third-rate island kingdom into a global imperial power.
In 1580, sailing on Elizabeth’s covert orders, Drake became the first captain to circumnavigate the earth successfully. (Ferdinand Magellan had died in his attempt.) Part exploring expedition, part raiding mission, Drake’s audacious around-the-world journey in the Golden Hind reached Patagonia, the Pacific Coast of present-day California and Oregon, the Spice Islands, Java, and Africa. Almost a decade later, Elizabeth called upon Drake again. As the devil-may-care vice admiral of the English fleet, Drake dramatically defeated the once-invincible Spanish Armada, spurring the British Empire’s ascent and permanently wounding its greatest rival.
The relationship between Drake and Elizabeth is the missing link in our understanding of the rise of the British Empire, and its importance has not been fully described or appreciated. Framed around Drake’s key voyages as a window into this crucial moment in British history, In Search of a Kingdom is a rousing adventure narrative entwining epic historical themes with intimate passions.
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About the Author
LAURENCE BERGREEN is the bestselling author of Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. His other books include Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492–1504; Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu; and Voyage to Mars: NASA’s Search for Life Beyond Earth. A graduate of Harvard, Bergreen lives in Manhattan.
Table of Contents
Principal Characters xv
A Note on Dates xix
Book I The Pirate
Chapter I The Island and the Empire 3
Chapter II The Monarch and the Mystic 34
Chapter III "Contrary Winds and Foul Weather" 65
Chapter IV Traitor 102
Chapter V Golden Hind 118
Chapter VI "The Most Mad Seas" 144
Chapter VII "Cruel Courtesy" 175
Chapter VIII Treasure Fleet 184
Chapter IX Cacafuego 190
Chapter X Life Among the Miwok 205
Chapter XI Deliverance 229
Chapter XII Unbroken Blue Water 236
Chapter XIII Return and Reward 249
Book II El Draque
Chapter XIV The Dragon Arrives 259
Chapter XV Two Queens, One Throne 292
Chapter XVI Raid on Cadiz 308
Chapter XVII Signs and Portents 331
Chapter XVIII Disdain, Revenge, Victory 359
Chapter XIX A "Top-Earning Pirate" 385
Notes on Sources 403