The dramatic story of the dazzling growth of London in the sixteenth century. At the start of the century, England was hardly involved in the wider world and London remained a gloomy, introverted medieval city. But as the century progressed something extraordinary happened, which placed London at the center of the world stage forever. In a sudden explosion of energy, English ships were suddenly found all over the world--trading with Russia and the Levant, exploring Virginia and the Arctic, and fanning out across the Indian Ocean. The people who made this possible--the families, the guild members, the money-men who were willing to risk huge sums and sometimes their own lives in pursuit of the rare, exotic, and desirable--are as interesting as any of those at court. Their ambitions fueled a new view of the world--initiating a long era of trade and empire, the consequences of which still resonate today.