The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco Da Gama

The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco Da Gama


By (author) Nigel Cliff

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  • Publisher: ATLANTIC BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 48mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1848870191
  • ISBN 13: 9781848870192
  • Illustrations note: col. ill
  • Sales rank: 91,662

Product description

The Last Crusade puts the reader on da Gama's ships in the midst of a perplexing, terrifying, yet exciting new world and in doing so traces the ancestry of antagonism between the world's two dominant faiths, Christianity and Islam. In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies, opening up access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history; the ships were pushed to their limits, their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, the greatest enemy was neither nature nor the fear of venturing into unknown worlds. With blood-red Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had intensified. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco 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 treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused - often comical collisions - between cultures encountering one another for the first time. With the world once again tipping back East, The Last Crusade offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.

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Author information

Nigel Cliff is a historian, biographer and critic. He was educated at Oxford University, where he was awarded a double First in English and the Beddington Prize for English Literature. He has written widely for publications including The Times, The Economist and the New York Times. He is the author of The Shakespeare Riots (Random House, 2007). He lives in London with his wife, the ballerina Viviana Durante, and their son Orlando.

Review quote

'A stirringly epic book...Gama's incident-rich voyage [is a] thrilling narrative' - Sunday Times 'This excellent book tells the story [of Vasco da Gama] with the swagger and excitement it deserves' - Spectator 'Lively and ambitious... Cliff has a novelist's gift for depicting character... He brings sixteenth-century Portugal in all its splendor and squalor pungently to life' - New York Times, 'Notable Books of the Year' 2011