The Sultan and the Queen

The Sultan and the Queen

The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam

Book - 2016
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The fascinating story of Queen Elizabeth's secret outreach to the Muslim world, which set England on the path to empire, by The New York Times bestselling author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps

We think of England as a great power whose empire once stretched from India to the Americas, but when Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen, it was just a tiny and rebellious Protestant island on the fringes of Europe, confronting the combined power of the papacy and of Catholic Spain. Broke and under siege, the young queen sought to build new alliances with the great powers of the Muslim world. She sent an emissary to the Shah of Iran, wooed the king of Morocco, and entered into an unprecedented alliance with the Ottoman Sultan Murad III, with whom she shared a lively correspondence.

The Sultan and the Queen tells the riveting and largely unknown story of the traders and adventurers who first went East to seek their fortunes--and reveals how Elizabeth's fruitful alignment with the Islamic world, financed by England's first joint stock companies, paved the way for its transformation into a global commercial empire.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780525428824
Branch Call Number: 327.42056 B795S 2016
Characteristics: 338 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), map, portraits ; 24 cm


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Apr 14, 2017

Elizabeth I and her period have fascinated me for 40+ years. Yet I've never heard of any connection between her court and Islam, though I've read more than a little about that too. The reviews for this new book are wonderful, so I expected to love it. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed I gave up halfway through. The writing is dry and overly academic. It begins more than 100 years before Elizabeth, I suppose to give context. But it doesn't give context for the long, complex names of rulers, reigns, or coups. I wanted to like it, but didn't. What the book did do was send me back, for the third or fourth time, to Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, six novels about a Scottish nobleman of the 1540s/1550s whose world adventures include the court of Elizabeth and several Muslim courts. Dunnett provides enough context for the lay reader to follow, and is exciting, to boot.


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