In 1482, Abu Abdallah Muhammad XI became the twenty-third Muslim King of Granada. He would be the last. This is the first history of the ruler, known as Boabdil, whose disastrous reign and bitter defeat brought seven centuries of Moorish Spain to an end. It is an action-packed story of intrigue, treachery, cruelty, cunning, courtliness, bravery and tragedy.Basing her vivid account on original documents and sources, Elizabeth Drayson traces the origins and development of Islamic Spain. She describes the thirteenth-century founding of the Nasrid dynasty, the cultured and stable society it created, and the feuding which threatened it and had all but destroyed it by 1482, when Boabdil seized the throne. The new Sultan faced betrayals by his family, factions in the Alhambra palace, and ever more powerful onslaughts from the forces of Ferdinand and Isabella, monarchs of the newly united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.By stratagem, diplomacy, courage and strength of will Boabdil prolonged his reign for ten years, but he never had much chance of survival. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella, magnificently attired in Moorish costume, entered Granada and took possession of the city. Boabdil went into exile. The Christian reconquest of Spain, that has reverberated so powerfully down the centuries, was complete.
A thrilling account of the life of Spain's last Moorish king and the ending of seven centuries of Spanish Islam
A lively biography ... [Drayson's] account revels in the high drama and spectacular gore of Boabdil's story, which are in plentiful supply. -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times * Charming and eye-opening ... Drayson does a splendid job of putting flesh on Boabdil's story -- Giles Tremlett * Guardian * Does justice to Boabdil's life and illuminates the lessons he offers. It is rare today to find a historian with a talent for brevity. In just 180 pages Drayson tells an enthralling and terribly sad story, while forcing the reader to reflect on the nature of heroism. -- Gerard DeGroot * Times * With elegant prose, her book clearly reconstructs the complicated politics of Granada and brings back to life a historical figure shrouded in mystery and legend. Her book is a pleasure to read and an excellent introduction to anyone wishing to delve into the twilight of Muslim Spain. -- Francis Soyer * BBC History Magazine * From her Cambridge vantage point, Dr Drayson retells this familiar but dramatic story. Her book is part history, part biography, and wholly readable...It would be a good book to read on a tren de alta velocidad speeding from Madrid to the south. -- Andrew Breeze * The Tablet *
Elizabeth Drayson teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Cambridge. She is Lorna Close Fellow in Spanish at Murray Edwards College and lecturer in Spanish at Peterhouse. Her books include The King and the Whore: King Roderick and La Cava (2007) and The Lead Books of Granada (2013).