A fascinating new insight into the epic conflicts between Spain’s Philip III and Elizabeth I of England, culminating in the Spanish invasion of Ireland, the fateful Battle of Kinsale and the downfall of the Gaelic insurgent chieftains O’Neill and O’Donnell.
Kinsale, Ireland: Christmas Eve, 1601
As thunder crashes and lightning rakes the sky, three very different commanders line up for a battle that will decide the fate of a nation.
General Juan del Águila has been sprung from a prison cell to command the last great Spanish Armada. Its mission: to seize a bridgehead in Queen Elizabeth's territory and hold it.
Facing him is Charles Blount, a brilliant English strategist whose career is also under a cloud. His affair with a married woman edged him into a treasonous conspiracy – and brought him to within a hair’s breadth of the gallows.
Meanwhile, Irish insurgent Hugh O’Neill knows that this is his final chance to drive the English out of Ireland.
For each man, this is the last throw of the dice. Tomorrow they will be either heroes – or has-beens.
These colourful commanders come alive in this true-life story of courage and endurance, of bitterness and betrayal, and of intrigue at the highest levels in the courts of England and Spain.
Praise for The Stolen Village
'...a harrowing tale that sheds light on the little-known trade in white slaves ... a fascinating exploration of a forgotten chapter of British and European history' Giles Milton - BBC History Magazine
one of the most turbulent periods in Irish history is brought dramatically to life … terrific … fascinating
Irish journalist Ekin (The Stolen Village) effectively brings to life this fateful but largely forgotten second effort to claim England for Catholicism and the Spanish Hapsburgs. It’s a detailed narrative filled with heroism, treachery, dynastic politics, and adultery—the makings of a soap opera, except that all of it actually happened. Ekin wrings nearly everything he can from various archives; when details threaten to overwhelm the narrative, the voices of the participants—whether monarchs or lowly soldiers—revive the reader from fatigue. Where the archives are silent, Ekin offers prudent judgments about what might have occurred while reporting fairly on earlier participants’ and historians’ differing conclusions
a historical page-turner with acts of heroism, betrayal, espionage, self-aggrandizement and self-sacrifice
a triumph of readability … for those who haven’t studied the period of the Spanish Armada up to about 1610, it seems rather an obscure subject, but Des Ekin makes it fascinating and utterly readable. It’s worth your attention … a must read
entertaining, chatty, and superbly researched, replete with fascinating anecdotes and tragicomic relief, this is popular history at its finest. It is sure to appeal to aficionados of Irish and military history. Fans of Arturo Perez-Reverte’s Captain Alatriste adventures will delight in seeing real-life counterparts in action at the Siege of Kinsale
Ekin (The Stolen Village) effectively brings to life this fateful but largely forgotten second effort to claim England for Catholicism and the Spanish Hapsburgs. It’s a detailed narrative filled with heroism, treachery, dynastic politics, and adultery—the makings of a soap opera, except that all of it actually happened. Ekin wrings nearly everything he can from various archives; when details threaten to overwhelm the narrative, the voices of the participants—whether monarchs or lowly soldiers—revive the reader from fatigue … Ekin’s work is a nice contribution to the historical literature, and one very well told
the author's gift for deep, comprehensive historical study and his ability to keep characters fresh in readers' minds bring this battle between Spain's best general and Queen Elizabeth's favourite, Charles Blount, to the awareness it has been denied … The author explains the terrain, battles, siege construction, and weaponry well enough to please any military historian, but the real prizes here are the author's discussions of the effect of the battle on Spain as its empire died and England's colonies grew, the end of Spain's religious wars, the shift of power in England, and the cataclysm as Gaelic Ireland declined and died. A fantastic book that finally assigns Kinsale its rightful place in history
fast-paced … a welcome gift for anyone interested in the history of our shores
great read … very entertaining
the intrigues, the siege, the battle and the aftermath are brilliantly realised by the author
what an extraordinary story
fascinating … lovely and enthralling … Ekin is a wonderful guide through this engrossing tale
Des Ekin’s The Last Armada does a tremendous job uncovering the personalities, the political maneuvering, and the actions behind the myth, and reveals a dramatic and fascinating tale of 100 days which led to the death of the old Gaelic nobility
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