A time of exceptional creativity, wealth, creation, and political expansion, the Elizabethan age was also more remarkable than any other for the Technicolor personalities of its leading participants. Apart from the complex character of the Virgin Queen herself, A. N. Wilson's The Elizabethans follows the stories of Francis Drake, a privateer who not only defeated the Spanish Armada but also circumnavigated the globe with a drunken, mutinous crew and without reliable navigational instruments; political intriguers like William Cecil and Francis Walsingham; and Renaissance literary geniuses from Sir Philip Sidney to Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.
Most crucially, this was the age when modern Britain was born and established independence from mainland Europe—both in its resistance to Spanish and French incursions and in its declaration of religious liberty from the pope—and laid the foundations for the explosion of British imperial power and eventual American domination.
An acknowledged master of the all-encompassing single-volume history, Wilson tells the exhilarating story of the Elizabethan era with all the panoramic sweep of his bestselling The Victorians, and with the wit and iconoclasm that are his trademarks.
"In Wilson's hands these familiar stories make for gripping reading."—The New York Times Book Review
"Wilson's treatment of this tumultuous period not only brings to life the title character but also fleshes out the many principal players of this era and explores throughout the relevance of the issues of that time to today's world."—Washington's Independent Review of Books
"Vividly conjures an age of British firsts and bests—momentous discoveries unequaled poetry and prose, and drama—and political triumphs in the dangerous throes of the Counter-Reformation."—Vanity Fair
"As with his superb Victorians, A.N. Wilson's new history of the Elizabethans is really an attempted portrait of the Elizabethan soul"—Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times (London)
"[Wilson's] witty, conversational style and eye for period detail bring the brilliance and spectacle of the Elizabethan age vividly to life . . . The vast array of subjects covered in the book [justifies] its description as 'panoramic.' Theatre, pageantry and literature jostle for position alongside plague, rebellion, astrology and the occult."—Tracy Borman, Sunday Express
"There is much to treasure."—Financial Times
"The Elizabethans is itself a fitting monument to an expansive epoch"—David Horspool, The Daily Telegraph
"[Wilson] looks through the eyes of some of the most colorful and celebrated characters in English history and culture . . . Readers will take delight."—Jonathan Bate, The Spectator