(ebook to be published Autumn 2018)
A ‘factional recreation of the life of the Portuguese navigator Francisco Serrão – cousin of Ferdinand Magellan and the first European to reach the Spice Islands.
Tordesillas. A far-reaching event. And yet it was only an imaginary line scored on an imagined world; a partition which contained the proposition that sufficient journeying east or west would bring any traveller back to their starting point - a spherical Earth being something which, for many, spoke too much of the heretical proposition that Geography was of greater significance than God. With hindsight, of course, it could be understood that the partition was political rather than spiritual. And, as much as the garnering of souls was part of the rationale, it was Man’s mastery of the oceans and the seeking of gold, silver, nutmeg and cloves that lay behind a division that marked the real beginning to the Age of Exploration. When the line was drawn, none of the great circumnavigations had happened, the discoveries by sea and land were only just commencing and the ‘new worlds’ of east and west had barely been reached. The ‘empire on which the sun never set’ that was to emerge over the next century was the forerunner of a global European hegemony over the next five. The idea was one which offered carte blanche to the navigators and conquistadors of Iberia but it also meant catastrophe to many of the conquered.
It was in this very Dawn of Discovery that Francisco Serrão lived.