An exploration narrative of the highest order: the bestselling author of Over the Edge of the World brings alive the extraordinary life and adventures of Sir Francis Drake, whose mastery of the seas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I changed the course of history—as a pirate raiding Spanish galleons, as the first explorer to successfully circumnavigate the globe, and as a naval hero who defeated the Spanish Armada and reshaped the global order.
Queen Elizabeth’s favorite pirate, Francis Drake, was a hot-tempered, red-haired rogue who plundered and pillaged his way to the ends of the earth. The most fascinating and accomplished of all buccaneers, Drake is regarded as a folk hero throughout Great Britain, a combination of unparalleled explorer and Robin Hood. He was vigorous and daring, but also a brash hustler who beguiled the nearly insolvent young queen of England with promises of gold and silver, and tales of heroic quests in exotic lands. For Elizabeth, he made the impossible real.
Drake was the first captain to circumnavigate the globe successfully (Ferdinand Magellan had died in his attempt), and a decade later, when Elizabeth called upon Drake again, he dramatically defeated the Spanish Armada, making possible the rise of the British Empire. Throughout his career he reaped benefits by making himself into the instrument of Elizabeth’s imperial ambitions. And as the devil-may-care vice-admiral of the English fleet, he personified England’s transition to Great Britain.
The relationship between Drake and Elizabeth is the missing link in the rise of the British empire, and its importance has not been fully described or appreciated – until now. Framed around Francis Drake’s key explorations as a way to illuminate this crucial moment in British history, In Search of a Kingdom is a rousing adventure narrative mingling wide-ranging historical themes with intimate passions.