The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
by Jerry Brotton
Paperback – Illustrated, 5 September 2017
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.
“Jenkinson is just one of the fascinating characters who forged England’s first sustained interaction with the Muslim world, a neglected aspect of Elizabethan history that Jerry Brotton brings vividly to life in this elegant and entertaining book… Out there, for all the talk of idolatry and infidels, discussions could be brisk and purposeful, boundaries porous, identities fluid. Even in that religiously charged era, the so-called clash of civilizations could sound very faint indeed.”
– Jason Goodwin, The New York Times Book Review
“We are accustomed to seeing Elizabeth as a dazzling but essentially limited monarch, obsessed with defending her small corner of northwest Europe. . . But as Brotton shows, for the last quarter of her reign, England was also deeply engaged with the three great powers of the Islamic world. The Sultan and the Queen is both a colorful narrative of that extraordinary time and a reminder that our own fortunes and those of the wider Islamic world have been intertwined for much longer than we might think.”
–Dan Jones, The Times
About the Author
Jerry Brotton is a professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary University of London. A renowned broadcaster and critic, he is the author of Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West (with Lisa Jardine), The Renaissance Bazaar, The Sale of the Late King’s Goods, a finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize, Great Maps, and The New York Times bestselling, award-winning A History of the World in Twelve Maps, which has been translated into eleven languages. The Sultan and the Queen published as This Orient Isle in the UK, was a Financial Times Book of the Year.
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (5 September 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143110624
- ISBN-13 : 9780143110620
- Dimensions : 15.19 x 2.39 x 22.81 cm
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