Editorial Reviews for this title:
In 1521, Suleiman the Magnificent, Muslim ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, dispatched an invasion fleet to the Christian island of Rhodes. This would prove to be the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean and the center of the world.
In Empires of the Sea, acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria.
This struggle’s brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, seven years that witnessed a fight to the finish decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto–one of the single most shocking days in world history. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away “because of the countless corpses floating in the sea.” Lepanto fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today.
Roger Crowley conjures up a wild cast of pirates, crusaders, and religious warriors struggling for supremacy and survival in a tale of slavery and galley warfare, desperate bravery and utter brutality, technology and Inca gold. Empires of the Sea is page-turning narrative history at its best–a story of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. It provides a crucial context for our own clash of civilizations.
'A gripping narrative account of several decades which really did shape the modern world.'
-- Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman
'Crowley succeeds in turning the events of 500 years ago into a thrilling spectacle.' -- James W. Wood, Scotsman
'Magnificent ... Crowley shows a novelist's eye for vivid scene painting.' -- Christopher Hart, Sunday Times
'Nothing less than thrilling. [Crowley's] descriptions of the great set pieces - the siege of Malta and the battle of Lepanto - left me holding my breath.' -- Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year
'This is a first-class narrative history, splendidly illustrated with old-fashioned engravings.' -- Christopher Silvester, Daily Telegraph
'[It] is an account of human beings under extraordinary circumstances... This is narrative history at its most gripping.' -- Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph
`Amazing narrative power as well as an even-handed approach to the grisly horrors endured by Christians and Muslims alike.' -- Antonia Fraser, History Today Books of the Year
`Glorious narrative history.' -- Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph
`There is a certain British genius for Boys' Own Paper military history, and Roger Crowley has it.'
-- Norman Stone, Guardian Book of the Week
`This rousing account ... has everything ... [Crowley's] scholarship is sure-footed, and his narrative skills an old-fashioned delight.' -- Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times, History Book of the Year
A major success in hardback, this is one of the most gripping and exciting stories ever told of an epic period of international warfare.
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