Summary

"Tall, dark, handsome, and damnably proud, Sir Walter Raleigh was one of history's most charistmatic, romantic, and misunderstood characters. Yet to his enemies - and there were many - he was an arrogant liar, deserving of every one of his thirteen years in the Tower of London. Was Sir Walter a hero - or a deceiver, terrorist, and ruthless adventurer? What caused his rising star to fall so dramatically, ending with his execution in 1618?" "One contemporary referred to Raleigh as "fortune's tennis ball" moving in and out of favor in the shark pool of Elizabethan court politics. He trifled with a vain and aging queen, dazzling her with exploits and devotions until, without her permission, he married a Maid-of-Honour. It was a major mistake for an adventurer too often absent from court and its changing alliances." "The story of Raleigh's tempestuous relationship with the "dear Empress of my heart" is one of the central threads of this engrossing book. Another is its sense of place, Raleigh Trevelyan descended from the family of Sir Walter and lives in England's West Country; his sense of Raleigh's Devon roots offers a key to his character. Trevelyan has traveled to each of the principal places in which Raleigh lived his great adventures - the ill-fated Roanoke, where he founded the first colony in America; Ireland, where he suppressed rebellious Catholics and introduced the potato; Spain and the Azores, where he pillaged as both commander and pirate; Orinoco, present-day Venezuela, where he lost his beloved son while searching for the phantom gold of El Dorado. In each of these travels, he has found new insights into Raleigh's life, as he has in the Spanish archives. The result is the most immediate, detailed, and convincing portrait of one of the most compelling figures in English history."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


An enthralling new biography of the most exciting and charismatic adventurer in the history of the English-speaking world

Tall, dark, handsome, and damnably proud, Sir Walter Raleigh was one of history’s most romantic characters. An explorer, soldier, courtier, pirate, and poet, Raleigh risked his life by trifling with the Virgin Queen’s affections. To his enemies—and there were many—he was an arrogant liar and traitor, deserving of every one of his thirteen years in the Tower of London.

Regardless of means, his accomplishments are legion: he founded the first American colony, gave the Irish the potato, and defeated Spain. He was also a brilliant operator in the shark pool of Elizabethan court politics, until he married a court beauty, without Elizabeth’s permission, and later challenged her capricious successor, James I.

Raleigh Trevelyan has traveled to each of the principal places where Raleigh adventured—Ireland, the Azores, Roanoke Islands, and the legendary El Dorado (Orinoco)—and uncovered new insights into Raleigh’s extraordinary life. New information from the Spanish archives give a freshness and immediacy to this detailed and convincing portrait of one of the most compelling figures of the Elizabethan era.