As English adventurer Francis Drake and his contemporaries opened up seaborne trade with Asia and the East, so dreams of untold wealth fuelled the appetites of European nations.
A new form of co-operation arose between governments and entrepreneurs - the merchant company.
Vital to the entire commercial and colonial endeavour, part of the story of Empire lies in the outposts they established."The Company's Island" focuses upon one such company colony - St Helena.
With no indigenous population on the island, the East India Company had to establish a society from scratch but far from settling 'in love and amity' a repressive and turbulent regime ensued.
The civilian population rebelled, the garrison mutinied, assassinating the governor, and a rebellion by black slaves was savagely punished.
The result is a vivid, compelling tale involving issues of race, morality, gender, trade and defence within the context of Empire.
Drawing on new archival material, the author sheds fresh light on an important yet little known aspect of the colonial endeavour.