A sixteenth-century family joins with pirates and William of Orange to fight the Spanish Inquisition in this novel of the Dutch Revolt by “a first-class storyteller” (People).
Consistently ranked among the top authors of historical fiction, along with Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, Phillipa Gregory, and Diana Gabaldon, the great Cecelia Holland now transports readers to the sixteenth-century Netherlands in an exciting tale of resistance and rebellion against cruel Spanish oppressors that combines unforgettable fictional characters with real historic personages.
No one was safe from religious persecution in the Dutch Low Countries when the “conqueror king,” Phillip II of Spain, dispatched the Catholic Church’s Inquisition to the Netherlands in the late 1500s. The van Cleef family has suffered mightily, with a father executed by a Spanish hangman and a mother driven into madness. Now their children, Jan and Hanneke, must survive on their own by any means necessary as fate carries them down separate but equally dangerous paths.
Jan’s destiny is on the high seas—and ultimately in the royal court of England’s Queen Elizabeth—as he and his uncle Pieter boldly retake the old man’s captive ship and join the infamous pirates known as the Sea Beggars in their quest to drive the enemy invaders from Dutch waters.
Remaining behind in Antwerp, Hanneke, meanwhile, is forced to endure a series of devastating trials that would crush a young woman of weaker spirit and sensibilities. Strong, courageous, and independent, she embarks on a harrowing journey to Germany in the company of refugee ruler William of Orange ahead of the impending terror of Spain’s sadistic Duke of Alva. But young Hanneke soon realizes there can be no escape or safe haven anywhere as long as her country is in chains, and she vows to dedicate her life to the perilous cause of freedom.
A sweeping and epic historical novel rich in color and stunning period detail, Holland’s The Sea Beggars is an enthralling, action-packed adventure that interweaves fact with brilliant invention. It is yet one more fictional excursion into the breathtaking world of the past by an author the New York Times praises as “a literary phenomenon.”