Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom
The biography of the last Ranee of Sarawak, born into the aristocracy as Sylvia Brett in 1885 and destined to become 'Queen of the Headhunters'.
'An incredible story' DAILY MAIL
'Jaw-dropping ... If you thought WHITE MISCHIEF the last word in English expatriate decadence, you haven't yet met Sylvia and the Brookes' THE TIMES
Sylvia Brooke was the consort of His Highness Sir Vyner Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, the last in a bizarre dynasty of English despots who ruled their jungle kingdom on Borneo until 1946. The White Rajahs were long held up as model rulers, but the spectacularly eccentric behaviour of Ranee Sylvia - self-styled Queen of the Headhunters - changed everything. This is the compelling story of her part in their downfall.
An incredible story (DAILY MAIL)In Philip Eade this 'most charming of despots' has met her match. He is a natural writer: percipient, sympathetic, amusing . . . those who have never heard of Sylvia Brooke are in for a treat (Michael Holroyd)It's fantastic material. Well spotted, Eade. Does he do it justice? Yes . . . Alongside the complexities of colonial politics, Eade brings her loves and losses, her heights and depths, to poignant life. It's all here: the bonking, the boozing, the pathos and the bathos . . . This is a delightful book, and proof that truth is stranger than fiction (Ross Leckie THE TIMES)Eade has uncovered a mine of marvellous material and handles it all with consummate wit and style . . . a dazzling debut (Hugh Massingberd COUNTRY LIFE)Juicily entertaining . . . an exceptional life, one to which Eade does rich justice (Miranda Seymour MAIL ON SUNDAY)Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest . . . a rollicking good read (Richard Davenport-Hines SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)A scrupulous researcher . . . [Eade] writes with panache (Sara Wheeler DAILY TELEGRAPH)Jaw-dropping . . . If you thought White Mischief the last word in English expatriate decadence, you haven't yet met Sylvia and the Brookes (THE TIMES)Amazing and hilarious (Christopher Foyle DAILY EXPRESS)The kind of gift subject that biographers must dream of . . . Colourful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy and infidelity crowd every page (Christopher Hart SUNDAY TIMES, Books of the Year)A thorough, fascinating and rather giddying book . . . sensational (Lynne Truss SUNDAY TIMES)The unbelievable story of the outlandish last Ranee of Sarawak was the most gripping biography of 2007; stylish, funny, poignant, crammed with eccentrics, it may yet be a slow-burn bestseller (Bartle Bull PROSPECT, Books of the Year)Philip Eade's stylish narrative never flags, nor his command of humour and irony. It is an altogether memorable work, the first I hope of many (Kenneth Rose)Richly entertaining (IRISH TIMES)
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