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Extended Audio Sample Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World Audiobook, by Roger Crowley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.94846153846154 out of 53.94846153846154 out of 53.94846153846154 out of 53.94846153846154 out of 53.94846153846154 out of 5 3.95 (13 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Roger Crowley Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9781400177226
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Empires of the Sea tells the story of the fifty-year world war between Islam and Christianity for the Mediterranean: one of the fiercest and most influential contests in European history. It traces events from the appearance on the world stage of Suleiman the Magnificent-the legendary ruler of the Ottoman Empire-through "the years of devastation" when it seemed possible that Islam might master the whole sea to the final brief flourishing of a united Christendom in 1571. The core of the story is the six years of bitter and bloody conflict between 1565 and 1571 that witnessed a fight to the finish. It was a tipping point in world civilization, a fast-paced struggle of spiraling intensity that led from the siege of Malta and the battle for Cyprus to the pope's last-gasp attempt to rekindle the spirit of the Crusades and the apocalypse at Lepanto. It features a rich cast of characters: Suleiman the Magnificent, greatest of Ottoman sultans; Hayrettin Barbarossa, the pirate who terrified Europe; the Knights of St. John, last survivors of the medieval crusading spirit; the aged visionary Pope Pius V; and the meteoric, brilliant Christian general, Don John of Austria. It is also a narrative about places: the shores of the Bosphorus, the palaces and shipyards of the Venetian lagoon, the barren rocks of Malta, the islands of Greece, the slave markets of Algiers-and the character of the sea itself with its complex pattern of winds and weather, which provided the conditions and the field of battle. It involves all the peoples who border the Great Sea: Italians, Turks, Greeks, Spaniards, the French and the people of North Africa. This story is one of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. Its denouement, the battle of Lepanto, is a single action of quite shocking impact-considered at the time in Christian Europe to be "a day to end all days." It is also a narrative about technology and money. Lepanto was the Mediterranean's Trafalgar, one of the great battles of world history, and a turning point in naval warfare. It was the last and greatest moment in the age of the galleys before sailing ships with broadside guns swept all before them, and it was paid for, on the Christian side, with Inca gold. The battle for the Mediterranean was instrumental in fixing the boundaries of Christendom and Islam and redirecting the course of empire. After Lepanto, the great powers turned away exhausted from the bitter and fruitless struggle for mastery of the Mediterranean. Henceforth, the contest for empire would be global: its new theaters would be the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, the spice islands and the Americas. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Crowley has an astonishing gift for narration; his account is as exciting as any thriller.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • A masterly narrative that captures the religious fervor, brutality and mayhem of this intensive contest for the 'center of the world.' Kirkus Starred Review
  • “Crowley’s page-turner history…deserves to be this [season’s] most recommended nonfiction book…Rich in character, action, surprise, what transpired in those few desperate weeks is one of history’s best and most thrilling stories.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “A masterly narrative that captures the religious fervor, brutality and mayhem of this intensive contest.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Moonglum | 5/30/2011

    " One of the coolest history books I have read in quite some time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 5/22/2011

    " A wonderfully told piece of history. Gripping, informative and vivid story-telling at its best. It deserved to win "History Book of the Year for 2008" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 4/23/2011

    " Excellent book. Crowley hid no detail of the brutal fighting that took place. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 2/26/2011

    " Audiobook narrated by John Lee is outstanding. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/17/2011

    " If you are a fan of European history this is a great read to better understand the conflict between the Hapsburg dynasty and the Ottoman Empire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 12/13/2010

    " Excellent. You can't read this without reading Crowley's other book "1453" first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blake | 10/27/2010

    " a good find for military history buffs. well written, but too much siege narration for me. i would have liked more analysis of the cultures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 9/22/2010

    " This is an incredibly interesting period of history and Crowley's writing captures the excitement and fear in a very readable way, even for someone who mostly reads fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 7/11/2010

    " So the battle between the West and the Muslim world goes way back to the 15th century. The real pirate Barbarossa was a Muslim out of Tripoli that terrorized the Italian and Spanish sea coasts. The knights of Malta were crusaders run out of the Middle East. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kim | 4/29/2010

    " Some interesting tales about this vital sea but overall not a captivating read. Worthwhile but not a page turner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ty | 4/17/2010

    " If you don't enjoy European or military history you won't enjoy this book. If you do, you're going to find obscure battles between Algerian pirates, Turkish janissaries, unreformed crusaders and Venetian armadas fascinating. I think only Aaron and I may fall into that category. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/8/2010

    " Great research, well presented and a pleasure to read. Kept me engaged and interested throughout. Very enjoyable. "

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About the Author
Author Roger Crowley

Roger Crowley is a UK-based writer and historian and a graduate of Cambridge University. As the child of a naval family, his fascination with the Mediterranean world started early, on the island of Malta. He has lived in Istanbul, walked across much of western Turkey, and traveled widely throughout the region. His particular interests are the Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman empires, seafaring, and eyewitness history. He is the author of three books on the empires of the Mediterranean and its surroundings: 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople, Empires of the Sea, and City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Waves.

About the Narrator

John Lee, a stage actor and writer and a coproducer of feature films, has narrated more than one hundred audiobooks of every conceivable genre, earning some three dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award.