It is 1493. The Catholic Monarchs have vanquished the Muslim kingdom of al-Andalus and banished the Jews from Spain. Our hero, Don Pedro Togeiro, has joined Spain's greatest military commander, Don Gonzalo Fernndez of Cordoba, the Gran Capitn himself, to expel the marauding French forces from Italy, while his sultry raven-haired Moorish wife, Raquel, has accompanied Princess Juana to Flanders for her wedding to the womanising Archduke Philip of Austria where he savagely assaults her. Meanwhile, the dynastic Borgias are scandalising Rome and in the Indies Christopher Columbus continues his search for gold, convinced that he's reached China. Spain is on the threshold of greatness as Isabel and Fernando forge its destiny, but fate intervenes. Famine, earthquake and disease decimate Spain, while the tragic death of three heirs to the throne and the growing madness of heiress Juana draw Spain inexorably into the Habsburg Empire. Spain's Pursuit of Destiny: The Columbus Years, Howard Headworth's brilliant follow-up to The Al-Andalus Chronicle, has a rich blend of personal drama, historical detail and a superb sense of place. Raquel's ordeal, Pedro's kidnap in Tuscany and the epic battle of Cerignola are laid like bright tapestries before our present-day eyes. When Pedro's family, following the destruction of their castle-home, decide to seek new pastures in the West Indies, the picture is complete, and we have Spain's chequered destiny in a nutshell. Howard Headworth has lived in Almera in southern Spain with his wife, Sarah, since 1994. Enthralled by the vestiges of the former Muslim kingdom which are evident in every corner of southern Spain, his interest turned to the northern cities of Castile and La Mancha, with their largely intact hearts still pulsating with the events of their turbulent years. His wide-ranging research for this book took him to the Dominican Republic (once La Espaoa) to search out where Pedro settled. Howard was born in Newport, Gwent, and educated at the University of Wales and Imperial College, London. He is a geologist by training and a hydrogeologist by profession. With his wife, Sarah Steines, he is the author of an English/Spanish Dictionary of Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering (John Wiley and Sons).
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