On September 26, 1580, Francis Drake sailed his ship, the Golden Hinde, into Plymouth Harbor on the southwest coast of England. Samuel Bawlf masterfully recounts the drama of this extraordinary expedition within the context of Englands struggle to withstand the aggression of Catholic Europe and Drakes ambition for English enterprise in the Pacific. He offers fascinating insight into life at sea in the sixteenth century-from the dangers of mutiny and the lack of knowledge about wind and current to the arduous physical challenges faced every day by Drakes men. A cast of luminous characters runs through The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: Philip II of Spain, Europes most powerful monarch; Elizabeths spymaster and powerful advisor, Francis Walsingham; the encyclopedic cosmographer John Dee; and Abraham Ortelius, the great Dutch mapmaker to whom Drake leaked his Pacific discoveries. In the end, though, it is Francis Drake himself who comes most fully to life through the lens of his epic voyage. Remembered most as a privateer and for his victory over the Spanish Armada, the Drake that emerges from these pages is so much more: a dynamic leader of men, a brilliant navigator and sailor, and surely one of historys most daring explorers.