For millennia the location of the Nile River's headwaters was shrouded in mystery. In the 19th century.
European powers sent off waves of explorations intended to map the unknown corners of the globe-- and extend their colonial empires. Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to claim the prize for England. Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, and was a decorated soldier,
Speke was a young aristocrat and Army officer determined to make his mark.
There was a third man on both expeditions ... Whose exploits were even more extraordinary. This was Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was enslaved and shipped from his home village in East Africa to India. When the man who purchased him died, he made his way into the local Sultan's army, and eventually traveled back to Africa, where he used his resourcefulness, linguistic prowess and raw courage to forge a living as a guide. Without Bombay and men like him, ... neither Englishman would have come close to the headwaters of the Nile, or perhaps even survived
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The harrowing story of one of the great feats of exploration of all time and its complicated legacy—from the New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic