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 Using unpublished sources and letters, Sarah Bakewell tells his extraordinary tale with dazzling verve.