It is the summer of 1588, and the fate and future of England hangs in the balance. Obsessed by the dream of reclaiming England for the Catholic Church - and adding another country to his sprawling dominions - Philip II of Spain has assembled a fleet of huge, castle-crowned galleons that stretches for miles across the face of the ocean. In wait in the Netherlands lies a battle-hardened Spanish army, ferocious professionals with a taste for rape, looting and atrocity. cross the Channel the English are scraping together bands of barely trained men, many armed only with scythes, stakes or longbows. Great warning beacons stand all along the coast of England; torches and kindling lie to hand. Watchmen strain their eyes to see over the horizon. Their only hope lies in the English Navy. ut Philip's Armada is doomed before it even leaves port. As soon as it engages with the English fleet, its shortcomings are clear in the face of superior tactics and firepower. Its hulls shot through with cannon fire, its men dying in thousands from wounds and disease, the mightiest fleet ever assembled is mercilessly harried into fleeing north, at the mercy of the elements. Over forty Spanish ships are
Neil Hanson is the author of many acclaimed works of narrative history including The Custom of the Sea, The Dreadful Judgement, The Confident Hope of a Miracle and The Unknown Soldier. He lives in Yorkshire with his family.