By Charles Kingsley
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Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho! is the novel after which the English seaside village was named. The story follows the adventures of Amyas Leigh, an obstinate young man who decides to go sailing. He settles for a certain period in the Caribbean islands searching for gold and succeeds in making a little fortune. He then decides to go back to England by the time of the Spanish Armada, a sixteenth-century Spanish fleet that intended to invade England and overthrow Queen Elizabeth I for rivalry over colonies in the Netherlands, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Much of the novel describes the struggles between the two world powers, picturing the continuous naval battles that they engaged in. Amayas becomes greatly concerned when the Spaniards abduct his brother Frank Leigh as well as an admired local beauty named Rose Salterne. Furthermore, Amyas's life turns into a sad tragedy when he is further struck by a thunderbolt that costs him his eyesight. Generally, Kingsley gives the story a religious touch by making the war between England and Spain equally appear like a war between Protestantism and Catholicism, particularly when he shows how English hostages are often burnt at the stake by the Catholic Inquisition.