We think of England as a great power whose empire once stretched from India to the Americas, but when Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen, it was just a tiny and rebellious Protestant island on the fringes of Europe, confronting the combined power of the papacy and of Catholic Spain. Read more...
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We think of England as a great power whose empire once stretched from India to the Americas, but when Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen, it was just a tiny and rebellious Protestant island on the fringes of Europe, confronting the combined power of the papacy and of Catholic Spain. Broke and under siege, the young queen sought to build new alliances with the great powers of the Muslim world. She sent an emissary to the Shah of Iran, wooed the king of Morocco, and entered into an unprecedented alliance with the Ottoman Sultan Murad III, with whom she shared a lively correspondence. The Sultan and the Queen tells the riveting and largely unknown story of the traders and adventurers who first went East to seek their fortunes--and reveals how Elizabeth's fruitful alignment with the Islamic world, financed by England's first joint stock companies, paved the way for its transformation into a global commercial empire.
- ISBN-13: 9780525428824
- ISBN-10: 0525428828
- Publisher: Viking
- Publish Date: September 2016
- Page Count: 352
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Brotton (Great Maps), professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary University of London, details the difficult diplomatic shifts Elizabeth I maneuvered in the wake of her excommunication in 1570. Having lost much of her previous access to Catholic commerce, Elizabeth found new connections in fellow Protestant lands as well as the Islamic world, notably the Ottoman Empire. An unstable triangle of Protestant-Muslim-Catholic alliances followed. Brotton successfully details the “unlikely” alliance through intriguing portrayals of England’s first ambassadors to Iran, Morocco, and the Ottoman Empire, noting the uneven growth of trade between the island nation and Muslim powers. Thanks to the greater number of resources from the Western travelers, the narrative remains strongest when focusing on the East, but Brotton offers a glimpse of the impressions Muslim diplomats and traders made when visiting London. He also explores their impact on British culture through the evolution of characterizations in Elizabethan theater, especially the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare. The book’s true action occurs in smoothly written descriptions of delicate negotiations set in the East, highlighted with the attempts by Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim rulers to pit rivals against one another. Brotton blends meticulous research with a deft touch of the mysterious, resulting in a fascinating shared history of East and West. (Oct.)