This is an excellent book, telling the story of the rise of English maritime power through the eyes of the fictional hero Richard Tavistock and the factual hero Francis Drake. Fact and fiction are cleverly interwoven and the characterisation of Drake is superb. There are many memorable scenes and the facts are truly represented. Like the Elizabethans themselves, the book is rumbustious, bawdy, humorous and very moving in parts. Robert Carter has captured the spirit of the era and his eye for background detail is impeccable. Cannon roar, politicians machinate and Drake and Tavistock wisecrack their way across the high seas.