England's Lost Colony
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Goldeneye and The Sugar Barons comes Willoughbyland – the untold story of England’s lost colony: a seventeenth-century tale of empire, El Dorado and violent rebellion, of spies, trickery and forbidden love.
At the beginning of the 1650s, England was in ruins – wrecked, impoverished, grief-stricken by plague and civil war. Yet shimmering on the horizon was an intoxicating possibility, a vision of paradise: Willoughbyland.
Ambitious and free-thinking adventurers poured in, attracted by the toleration, the optimism, the rich soil and the promise of the gold of El Dorado. It was England's most hopeful colony.
But the Restoration saw the end of political freedom, and brought in its place spies, war, rebellion and treachery. The advent of racial slavery poisoned everything. What started out as a heaven was soon to become one of the cruellest places on earth.
The history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.
“Parker has trawled the letters and literature, and travelled out to Suriname, and the result is a miniature masterpiece….this is a truly extraordinary tale and, in Parker’s hands, it’s beautifully told. With great wit and scholarship he reveals — just for a moment — a cruel and curious world, before it vanishes again beneath the trees.”
“An excellent account…Willoughbyland is popular history at its best.”
“A fascinating tale of courage and desperation, cruelty and betrayal, and it was all sparked by the search for the legendary city of gold, El Dorado.”
Event, Mail on Sunday
“The author has written several other highly enjoyable histories of the Caribbean, and he is on fine and colourful form here.”
“A fascinating tale…Matthew Parker is an entertaining historian who has produced a lively account.”
“[T]he long-obscure but intriguing Willoughbyland can now console itself that it has, in this frequently fascinating book, a history it deserves.”
Catherine Nixey, Times
“An odd, bygone moment in England's political dreaming, rendered expertly.”
John Lewis-Stempel, Sunday Express
“[A]n enjoyable account of a neglected moment in the emergence of the British empire.”
Robert J Mayhew, BBC History Magazine
“‘An excellent book throwing light on a fascinating period in history... An enjoyable read… Impeccably well-researched.’”
Paul Newham, Bookbag