When James Brooke arrives in Borneo on the schooner ‘Royalist’, he plans to make a quick profit trading with the natives. Instead he finds himself taking sides in a civil war. And when his side wins, he ends up the ruler of his own country.
As the first White Rajah of Sarawak, Brooke is determined to show how the Britain of Queen Victoria can bring civilisation to the natives.
But life in Borneo proves complicated. Soon pirates are exploiting the divisions in the country and, when the old rulers stage a coup, Brooke is forced to flee into the jungle.
Faced with the destruction of all he has worked for, Brooke is driven to desperate measures to reclaim his country.
But is he bringing civilisation to Borneo or will his ruthless annihilation of the pirates just bring a new level of brutality to the people he meant to save?
Deborah Swift has reviewed it for Historia.