The Velvet Doublet Author:James Street I am the man called Lepe and this is my story. — It is the story of a lifetime spent on the sea in the most dazzling years in all the history of navigation and discovery. It is the story of dark days spent under the shadow of the Spanish Inquisition; of bright hours of roistering and wenching... of shining moments of love. But my story cannot be ... more »told without telling of another man - a brave, arrogant, and determined visionary. That man is Christopher Columbus.
The time is late in the 15th century, when the scimitar of Islam was across North Africa and the Moors still held Granada. Constantinople had fallen to the Turks, and Cathay, with its spices, its gold, and its aloes, lay like a locked treasure chest behind the embattled minarets of the East. Denied these riches, Europe waited for bread while the Holy Orders fought for men's souls. The long bleak night was upon Europe, and a few men - only a few - turned their backs on the East and looked westward toward the Ocean Sea and the Unknown.
Come with me and my friends - the hunchback called The Rabbit and Arcos, the brawny muleteer - to the seaports of the Mediterranean as we sail with the sagacious Pinzon. Follow us to Palos as we stand on the decks of a little vessel called the Pinta that August morning and set sail on the great adventure. And watch while mutiny roars through the three tiny ships and the stubborn Columbus sails on, undaunted. And thrill with me when first I sight the cliffs of San Salvador...only to be denied, by the temperamental Columbus, the coveted prize promised to the first man to see the New World...the Velvet Doublet.
But my story doesn't end here. There are excitement and intrigue, rich good fortune and bitter tragedy, whirlwind passion and uncanny tricks of fate in store for you as you read my exciting account of the years when Columbus built an ocean bridge to the New World.« less