The White Rajah

Written by Tom Williams
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

James Brooke, late of the East India Company, was an adventurer in its truest sense. In 1838, he purchased a schooner and sailed to Sarawak in Borneo. He soon fell in love with the country and its people and, after helping to put down a rebellion against the Sultan of Brunei, is awarded the governorship of Sarawak, becoming the first White Rajah.

This novel by Tom Williams is a fictional account of Brooke and his rise, and rule, in the far Eastern lands where he made his fame and fortune. The writing is well paced and, where differing from known facts, is logical in its conclusions. This novel straddles exciting fiction and assumed facts to great effect.

The narrator is a lowly seaman, John Williamson, who sets sail on Brooke’s first, unsuccessful foray in Far Eastern trade. Joining him on his second exploit on the schooner The Royalist, the young man is taken to Borneo, where they are caught up in the native politics and begin a true companionship. An involving tale of adventure, intrigue and unlikely love.