Few men have lived such an extraordinary life as Admiral Albert Hastings Markham. Besides dedicating five decades of his career to the Royal Navy, Markham was a voracious reader, prolific writer, keen naturalist, and daring explorer. He battled Chinese pirates during the Second Opium War and Taiping Rebellion; chased down Australian blackbirding ships in the South Pacific; trekked to within 400 miles of the North Pole; hunted buffalo and visited Indian reservations in the United States; observed a bloody war in South America; canoed Canada’s remote Hayes River; and explored the icy waters of Baffin Bay and the Arctic Ocean archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. At the time of his death in 1918, _The Globe_ declared that Markham’s passing removed from society ‘one of the most arresting figures of his time’.
While Markham’s life was filled with adventure, it was also marred by tragedy. Regrettably, Markham is best remembered for his role in the sinking of HMS _Victoria_ in 1893. This one incident has tarnished his legacy until now. This book follows Markham on his nineteenth-century tales of adventure and misfortune and reassess the life of this forgotten admiral.