The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco Da Gama (Paperback)
In 1498 a young captain named Vasco da Gama sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage ever undertaken at that time. With blood-red Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East in an era when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.
The Last Crusade is an epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treacheryof bravado, brinkmanship, and confused, often comical collisions between culturesoffering a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history.
About the Author
Nigel Cliff is a historian, biographer, and critic. He was educated at Oxford University, where he was awarded the Beddington Prize for English Literature. He is a former theater and film critic for the London Times and a contributor to the Economist and other publications. His first book, The Shakespeare Riots, was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing and was selected as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Washington Post. He lives in London with his wife, the ballerina Viviana Durante.
“Lively and ambitious . . . Cliff has a novelist’s gift for depicting character . . . he brings 16th century Portugal in all its splendor and squalor pungently to life.”
-Eric Ormsby, New York Times Book Review
“Epic . . . a compelling adventure tale, told by Cliff with the right mix of sweep and detail.”
“Readers who enjoy a yeasty narrative by a skilled storyteller will mark this book as one of their favorites of the year.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Nigel Cliff’s Holy War is one of the most readable, engaging, and provoking books of the season, hands down . . . Cliff . . . writes with considerable energy, humor and narrative skill.”
-Kansas City Star
“A fresh take on the history of the age of discovery . . . Cliff opens new vistas on much-explored territory.”
“A useful addition to a continuing lively discussion of Christianity and Islam, situated both in respect of religions and culture, as well as empires and trade.”
“Cliff tells an often thrilling tale of adventure . . . He effectively restores the luster of da Gama’s achievement and provocatively reassesses the goals and significance of his expedition.”
“A story told with great flair and serious scholarship.”
-James Eckardt, The Nation
“A stirringly epic book…a thrilling narrative…This is broad-brush history, but it is accurate, and enlivened by splendid spots of color.”
-Sunday Times (London)