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The Confident Hope of a Miracle

By Neil Hanson

It is the summer of 1588, and the fate and future of England hangs in the balance.

Obsessed by the dream of reclaiming England for the Catholic Church, Philip II of Spain has assembled a huge fleet of castle-crowned galleons ripe for the task. Lying in wait in the Netherlands lies a battle-hardened Spanish army, ferocious professionals with a taste for rape, looting and atrocity.

Across the Channel the English are scraping together bands of barely trained men, many armed only with scythes, stakes or longbows. Great warning beacons stand all along the coast of England. Their only hope lies in the English Navy.

But Philip’s Armada is doomed before it even leaves port. As soon as it engages with the English fleet, its shortcomings are clear in the face of superior tactics and firepower. Within hours, the mightiest fleet ever assembled is mercilessly harried into fleeing north, and the dream of subduing the Protestant English lies in tatters.

The Confident Hope of a Miracle is a brilliant narrative that melds deep research and page-turning writing. He reaches dramatic heights that make him the equal of Parkman or Prescott.

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