With the Heart of a King: Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and the Fight for a Nation's Soul and Crown

Benton Rain Patterson, Author
Benton Rain Patterson, Author . St. Martin's $27.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-312-34844-1
Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4668-5884-8
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He was the dour Catholic despot bent on stamping out the Reformation; she was the plucky ruler of Europe's leading Protestant power. He was the widower who proposed marriage to his sister-in-law; she was the coy virgin queen who kept him off-balance by flirting with other potentates. As they move from dalliance to open war during the expedition of the Spanish Armada, Philip II of Spain and Elizabeth I of England shape the 16th century into a romance saga. Well, not really; a similar book could be written about many duos among Europe's incestuous ruling class, where power marriages were treated as the gravest matters of state. Journalist Patterson writes an enjoyable narrative of the intensely personal politics of the era, with plenty of intrigue and colorful characters, including the tragic Mary Queen of Scots and the dashing Francis Drake. The author sets it all against a backdrop of Renaissance pageantry and ritualistic burnings and beheadings of heretics and papists. The Elizabeth-Philip relationship is not an unduly cogent framework for a history of the age, but it makes for diverting true-life soap opera on an epic scale. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Feb.)

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