Rip-roaring history from the author of Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia, Monsoon Postcards: Indian Ocean Journeys and Postcards from the Borderlands.
Radama--the young, savvy, ruthless ruler of the rising military power in Madagascar, with an appetite for conquest, sex, and alcohol. Robert Townsend Farquhar--the scheming, silver-tongued governor of the British island colony of Mauritius, whose plantation economy depends on slave labor. James Hastie--an educated, enterprising, and courageous East India Company sergeant, ready to take on a risky mission. In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, as Britain and France face off in the southwest Indian Ocean, the destinies of these three characters intertwine. Will the British cut a deal to end the export of slaves from Madagascar, and if so at what cost? Will Radama, with the wily Hastie by his side, win the internal power struggle against nobles and clan chieftains? Will his forces, with muskets supplied by the British, subdue spear-wielding clans and unite the island, making him king of all Madagascar? Hastie's previously unpublished journals weave a narrative of hazardous travel, byzantine court intrigue and colonial geopolitics.