Sir Francis Drake was the most dashing of the many ambitious seamen to serve Queen Elizabeth I. His was an age when the world seemed there for the taking, whether in the form of riches, glory or lasting renown. In this masterly new biography, Stephen Coote shows how Drake deliberately and skilfully fashioned himself into the very image of the English Protestant hero – the little man who took on the might of Spain.
Drake’s achievements were truly formidable and a testament to his immense skills as a tactician and a leader of men but was he just a rabid anti-papist, a state-sponsored terrorist and slaver? Or was he the embodiment of English sang-froid, an empire-builder and hero? Stephen Coote’s brilliant re-evaluation of this self-made Elizabethan hero is a fascinating portrait of the man and his era. Vividly re-creating the key episodes in the construction of the Drake legend, from the West Indies voyages to the Nombre de Dios expedition, the Armada and the extraordinary circumnavigation of the world, Coote shows how his reputation was made, challenged and finally manipulated for other ends in the centuries following his death.