‘The White Rajah’: some background and a cover reveal.

It’s less than a month since the publication of Burke in Ireland. I had been hoping for the chance to concentrate on writing the next book in the series, but have been rather caught up by events.

I had always intended to republish the John Williamson Papers which start with The White Rajah – the story of a mid-19th century adventurer who became the ruler of a small country in Borneo. It was the first novel I wrote and although it sold quite well when it first came out, it’s rather languished of late. My experience with James Burke has shown that self-publication gives me the opportunity to market my books more aggressively, so republication was on my list of things to do. Still, there had seemed to be no hurry; but that has changed.

Ever since Errol Flynn tried to make a film about James Brooke (the eponymous White Rajah) back in the 1930s, attempts to make a film of his life have failed so often it seemed there was a curse on the movie. The latest attempt was supposed to be released last year but covid intervened. Finally, though, a movie of Brooke’s life (or some version of it) is about to hit the screens on 21 June – except that (covid again) by ‘screens’ I mean ‘videos’.

That’s a shame because the film (now titled The Edge of the World) is a major release, starring Jonathan Rhys Myers and the trailer looks fantastic. What I can see of the trailer (and what I’ve read of the romantic sub-plot) leads me to suspect that the film is not, perhaps, as closely based on the historical record as is my book but, with luck, interest in the film may lead to more interest in the book. In any case, it does mean that my plans for the reissue of the John Williamson Papers have had to be accelerated to make sure that the book has time to establish a presence before 21 June.  It will be published on 21 May, but it is already available for pre-order at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B092XZCZDC

The first stage of the re-launch is traditionally the reveal of a new cover. The cover for The White Rajah was done by Dave Slaney (who does all my covers). I think it’s rather lovely. Here it is.

What do you think?