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"A fascinating story."—Choice "A remarkable achievement."—Sunday Herald For the general reader, as well as students and historians, this absorbing study chronicles the life and work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). World-renowned as the author of Don Quixote, the "Spanish Shakespeare" led an adventurous and fruitful life that encompassed widely disparate roles—spy, lover, soldier, hostage, tax collector, poet, playwright, and, most notably, creator of the first European novel. This biography is based on new original research, and incorporates previously unpublished material on Cervantes' long period of captivity in Algiers; also, his involvement with piracy in the Mediterranean and with espionage and the Spanish Armada; and his work as an agent of the Spanish government. Containing significant details never before available in English, it is an important contribution to the understanding of a unique literary figure.