The story of one man's journey down the Amazon-and how it changed history
In 1876, a man named Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them to Victorian England's most prestigious scientists at Kew Gardens. Those seeds, planted around the world in England's colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early twentieth century-an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific industry that would change the world. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds-a sought-after prize for which many suffered and died-is the stuff of legend. In this thrilling real-life account of bravery, greed, obsession, and ultimate betrayal, award-winning author Joe Jackson brings to life the story of a fortune hunter and his collaboration with the empire that fueled then abandon him.
'Fascinating . . . an admirable mix of botanical detail and storyteller's verve.' - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
'A fabulous story, well told . . . this story moves and haunts.' - LOS ANGELES TIMES
'Wickham's life is a stone-cold historical thriller, a black comedy and one of the great secret fables of the modern age.' - TIME