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On 1 June 1666 a large but outnumbered English fleet engaged the Dutch off the mouth of the Thames in a colossal battle that was to involve nearly 200 ships and last four days. False intelligence had led the English to divide their fleet to meet a phantom threat from France and although the errant squadron rejoined on the final day of the battle, it was not enough to redress the balance. Like many a defeat, it sparked controversy at the time, and has been the subject of speculation and debate ever since.The battle was an event of such overwhelming complexity that for centuries it defied description and deterred study but this superbly researched book is now recognised as the definitive account. Published in a limited edition in 1996, it provides the first clear exposition of the opposing forces, fills many holes in the narrative and answers most of the questions raised by the actions of the English commanders.It makes for a thoroughly engrossing story, and one worthy of the greatest battle of the age of sail.