In the summer of 1588, a great body of ships sailed from Spain on a Crusade: to restore England to Catholicism. The ensuing events brought a Spanish word, armada, into the English language and created a host of legends. Intrepid English sea dogs in tiny ships, it was said, had bravely faced down towering Spanish galleons. Finally, a storm sent by a vengeful God wrecked most of that proud fleet on its way home.
Award-winning author Jay Williams sheds new light on the traditional picture. Although the English were superior sailors, the two fleets were evenly matched. Moreover, the battle emerges as the high point of a four-year cold war between England and Spain. Only when set in the context of a Europe bitterly divided between Catholics and Protestants can the contest be fully understood. The personalities of Queen Elizabeth I of England and King Philip II of Spain and their commanders - especially Francis Drake - are also key to this dramatic story.