'Consistently illuminating ... Like all the best stories, it is about the timeless tides of power and influence ... trade deals can sometimes be sexy, thrilling and epic' Sinclair McKay, SpectatorLife in Europe was fundamentally changed in the 16th century by the astonishing discoveries of the New World and of direct sea routes to Asia. To start with England was hardly involved and London remained a gloomy, introverted medieval city. But as the century progressed something extraordinary happened.Stephen Alford's evocative, original and fascinating new book uses the same skills that made his widely praised The Watchers so successful, bringing to life the network of merchants, visionaries, crooks and sailors who changed London forever. In a sudden explosion of energy English ships were suddenly found all over the world - trading with Russia and the Levant, exploring Virginia and the Arctic, and fanning out across the Indian Ocean. London's Triumph is above all about the people who made this possible - the families, the guild members, the money-men who were willing to risk huge sums and sometimes their own lives in pursuit of the rare, exotic and desirable. Their ambitions fuelled a new view of the world - initiating a long era of trade and empire, the consequences of which we still live with today.
Exceptionally rich and variegated...This might be a book for ministers to take on holiday in the summer. -- Jessie Childs * Guardian * Vivid and informative... somehow one can't help wondering whether there might be a lesson [here] for British commerce today. -- Noel Malcolm * Telegraph * The book is crammed with unexpected sidelights of 16th century London * Times * A city contending with immigration, religious difference and the threat of violence... the unspoken comparisons that haunt this story are unavoidably poignant * Times Higher Education Supplement * Like all the best stories, it is about the timeless tides of power and influence... consistently illuminating and filled with pleasing resonance -- Sinclair McKay * Spectator *
Stephen Alford is the author of the highly acclaimed The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth and is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King's College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Leeds.