By the summer of 1704 Louis XIV's vast armies dominated Europe. France defeated every alliance formed against her and Louis was poised to extend his frontier to the Rhine and install a French prince on the throne of Spain. Two men saved Europe from French military domination: the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy. Marlborough masterminded a brilliant campaign, working with Eugene to surprise the French invaders inside Germany. The rival armies clashed in August and the hitherto unbeaten French were utterly destroyed. Blenheim was a major turning point in European history. Charles Spencer's narrative is drawn from original sources and moves seamlessly from the deliberations of Kings and princes to the frontline soldiers. This is the battle that creates the enduring reputation of the British redcoat and shatters the image of the 'Sun King' and his mighty army.
Charles Spencer was educated at Eton College and obtained his degree in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. Since he was a boy the Battle of Blenheim has fascinated him - it was even his History O level special project - partly because of the Spencer-Churchill direct link to the engagement's prime victor, John, Duke of Marlborough. While in the middle of a seven year stint as a correspondent for NBC News in the United States, Charles Spencer inherited the ancestral home of Althorp, Northampton, which he has since restored and refurbished. He lives at Althorp and in West London with his wife, four children from his first marriage, and two stepsons. He achieved worldwide attention after speaking passionately at the funeral of his sister Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.