From King of Iceland to Tasmanian Convict
The best kind of history - a ripping naval yarn set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in Europe and the colonising of Tasmania.
This gripping nineteenth-century adventure stars Jorgen Jorgenson, a Dane who made Britain his adopted country. Restless for adventure, he came to London, and began his career by sailing to establish the new colony of Tasmania. Twists of fortune then found him captaining a ship for Napoleon before travelling with British traders to Iceland where he found his moment of glory: ruling the country for two months after staging an outrageous coup.
Much lay ahead, from imprisonment in the hulks, patronage by Joseph Banks, to travels in Europe as a British spy. But Jorgensen was dogged by his own excesses, and ended up transported as a convict to the very colony he helped to found. Here he reinvented himself again as an explorer, and, despite his sympathy for the people, was caught up in the terrible Aboriginal clearances. Using unpublished sources and letters, Sarah Bakewell tells his extraordinary tale with dazzling verve.
“'Precise, amusing and intriguing.A vivid and moving portrait of an extraordinary but flawed man'”
“'Sarah Bakewell has a fine story to tell, and she is its skilled servant...A wonderful, intelligently told story'”
Thomas Keneally, Guardian
“'An accomplished book'”
“'Unsettling and powerful' ”
“'Bakewell is superbly matched to the task. Her account of the world encountered by Jorgenson is as rich and nuanced as her description of his life'”