No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Browse audiobooks by Laurence Bergreen, listen to samples and when you're ready head over to Audiobooks.com where you can get 3 FREE audiobooks on us
In this grand and thrilling narrative, the acclaimed biographer of Magellan, Columbus, and Marco Polo brings alive the singular life and adventures of Sir Francis Drake, the pirate/explorer/admiral whose mastery of the seas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I changed the course of history “Bergreen masterly portrays ... the swashbuckling life and times of the explorer who achieved what Magellan could not—and made England’s fortune in the process.” —Kirkus, STARRED review Before he was secretly dispatched by Queen Elizabeth to circumnavigate the globe, or was called upon to save England from the Spanish Armada, Francis Drake was perhaps the most wanted–and successful–pirate ever to sail. Nicknamed 'El Draque' by the Spaniards who placed a bounty on his head, the notorious red-haired, hot-tempered Drake pillaged galleons laden with New World gold and silver, stealing a vast fortune for his queen–and himself. For Elizabeth, Drake made the impossible real, serving as a crucial and brilliantly adaptable instrument of her ambitions to transform England from a third-rate island kingdom into a global imperial power. In 1580, sailing on Elizabeth's covert orders, Drake became the first captain to circumnavigate the earth successfully. (Ferdinand Magellan had died in his attempt.) Part exploring expedition, part raiding mission, Drake's audacious around-the-world journey in the Golden Hind reached Patagonia, the Pacific Coast of present-day California and Oregon, the Spice Islands, Java, and Africa. Almost a decade later, Elizabeth called upon Drake again. As the devil-may-care vice admiral of the English fleet, Drake dramatically defeated the once-invincible Spanish Armada, spurring the British Empire’s ascent and permanently wounding its greatest rival. The relationship between Drake and Elizabeth is the missing link in our understanding of the rise of the British Empire, and its importance has not been fully described or appreciated. Framed around Drake’s key voyages as a window into this crucial moment in British history, In Search of a Kingdom is a rousing adventure narrative entwining epic historical themes with intimate passions. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.Show more
From the author of the Magellan biography, Over the Edge of the World, a mesmerizing new account of the great explorer. Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a trading route to China, and his unexpected landfall in the Americas, is a watershed event in world history. Yet Columbus made three more voyages within the span of only a decade, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. These later voyages were even more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, but they revealed Columbus's uncanny sense of the sea, his mingled brilliance and delusion, and his superb navigational skills. In all these exploits he almost never lost a sailor. By their conclusion, however, Columbus was broken in body and spirit. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs- political, moral, and economic. In rich detail Laurence Bergreen re-creates each of these adventures as well as the historical background of Columbus's celebrated, controversial career. Written from the participants' vivid perspectives, this breathtakingly dramatic account will be embraced by readers of Bergreen's previous biographies of Marco Polo and Magellan and by fans of Nathaniel Philbrick, Simon Winchester, and Tony Horwitz.Show more
As the most celebrated European to explore Asia, Marco Polo was the original global traveler and the earliest bridge between East and West. A universal icon of adventure and discovery, he has inspired six centuries of popular fascination and spurious mythology. Now, from acclaimed author Laurence Bergreen, comes the first fully authoritative biography of one of the most enchanting figures in world history. In this masterly work, Marco Polo's incredible odyssey, along the Silk Road and through all the fantastic circumstances of his life, is chronicled in sumptuous and illuminating detail. Drawing on original sources in more than half a dozen languages, and his own travels along Polo's route in China and Mongolia, Bergreen explores the lingering controversies surrounding Polo's legend, settling age-old questions and testing others for significance. Synthesizing history, biography, and travelogue, this is a timely chronicle of a man who extended the boundaries of human knowledge and imagination. Destined to be the definitive account of its subject for decades to come, Marco Polo takes us on a journey to the limits of history, and beyond. From the Compact Disc edition.Show more
A majestic tale of discovery thatchanged many long-held views about the world In 1519 Magellan and his fleet of five ships set sail from Seville, Spain, to discover a water route to the fabled Spice Islands in Indonesia, where the most sought-after commodities -- cloves, pepper, and nutmeg -- flourished. Three years later, a handful of survivors returned with an abundance of spices from their intended destination, but with just one ship carrying eighteen emaciated men. During their remarkable voyage around the world the crew endured starvation, disease, mutiny, and torture. Many men died, including Magellan, who was violently killed in a fierce battle. This is the first full account in nearly half a century of this voyage into history: a tour of the world emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance; a startling anthropological account of tribes, languages, and customs unknown to Europeans; and a chronicle of a desperate grab for commercial and political power.Show more