James Brooke, John Williamson, and a free offer

James Brooke, John Williamson, and a free offer

Recently, I’ve written about the Williamson Papers and how much I would like to see them get a wider readership. The first book in the trilogy, The White Rajah, costs just £3.99 on Kindle (or you can read it free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited).

The White Rajah started life as a story about the real-life James Brooke of Borneo. In the mid-19th century he ruled the country of Sarawak as his own personal fiefdom and was known as the White Rajah. I invented the character of John Williamson (the name of Brooke’s real-life interpreter) as a narrator but eventually I realised that the story was just as much about the fictional Williamson as it was about Brooke. Williamson becomes the moral centre of the story, watching as Brooke’s dream of an innocent Eden meets the reality of the politics of the region and the complexities of colonial rule.

It’s not for everyone but you might find you love it if you give it a go. Committing to £3.99 and, more importantly, a first-person novel written in a mid-19th century voice is a lot to ask of people who have no reason to trust me to tell a good story. (One major publisher turned it down on the grounds that it was too ‘difficult’ for a first novel from an unknown writer and recommended that I start with something more commercial, which is why there are now seven James Burke books.) But I have a suggestion that may make it easier for you.

Years after I wrote The White Rajah, I was invited to add a short story to a collection put together by the Historical Writers’ Association (Victoriana). I wrote a story from the world of The White Rajah, which serves as a lovely introduction to John Williamson’s story. And from 10th to 14th April you can get it absolutely FREE as one of the four stories by different authors that make up Tales of Empire.

So there you are: log into Amazon using THIS LINK between 10 April and 14 April and get a free short introduction to John Williamson and James Brooke. And if you like it, you can buy The White Rajah then.

Thank you.