The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake 1577-1580, by Samuel Bawlf (Douglas & McIntyre), completes the story of European adventure in the north of North America in the sixteenth century. Here for the first time the voyages of Frobisher to Baffin Island can be fully understood in the context of the struggle for empire between England and Spain. Drake’s secret voyage to the western mouth of the Northwest Passage was the strategic complement to Frobisher’s voyages to Baffin Island made at the same time, and we can understand now that the two men expected, or at least were prepared, to meet each other at the top of the world. The story of Drake’s voyage north, which carried him past the Queen Charlotte Islands, was suppressed by the British Navy, and has been a rumour for three centuries. Only now is it part of the public imagination. Bawlf’s account casts much light on the geopolitics of the time and puts the search for a northwest passage into a graspable—that is to say, human—form.