Moving between Spanish conquest abroad and the court of the astute Charles V, Hugh Thomas's The Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V is the second volume in a planned trilogy on the Spanish Empire.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America in the sixteenth century, they swept across the continent in a blaze of imperial expansion and brutal savagery.
Beginning with the return of the remnants of Magellan's circumnavigation in 1522 and ending with Charles's death in 1558, Hugh Thomas's masterful work brilliantly brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods of the Renaissance, revealing how the Spaniards were able to conquer Guatemala, Yucatan, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru and Chile; how the audacious conquistador Francisco de Orellana sailed down the Amazon, why Cabeza de Vaca walked from Florida to Mexico and what drove Hernando de Soto to pursue worldly riches in Florida, Mississippi and Georgia.
While adventurers and explorers like Cortes and Pizarro build entire cities and amassed vast wealth from the treasures of the land, they also killed thousands, and left the indelible mark of Spain's language and religion for centuries to come.
'Thomas tells the story of missionary zeal and military plunder with a zest worthy of a swashbuckling historical novelist'
'A riveting story of adventure and cruelty ... a considerable scholarly accomplishment'
Ben Wilson, Daily Telegraph
'This monumental history is an extraordinary achievement ... A beguilingly-written account of a fascinating subject'
Alexander Samson, The Times Higher Education Supplement
Hugh Thomas is the author of, among other books, The Spanish Civil War (1962), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (1971), An Unfinished History of the World (1979), and the first volume of his Spanish Empire trilogy, Rivers of Gold (2003).
In 2008 Hugh Thomas was made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France and in 2009 received the Calvo Serer Prize, The Boccacio Prize, and Nonino Prize in Italy. He is the author of, among other books, The Spanish Civil War, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, The Suez Affair, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom, An Unfinished History of the World, Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico, The Slave Trade and the first volume of his Spanish Empire trilogy, Rivers of Gold, which was reissued to coincide with publication of the second volume.