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Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters
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About the Author

Philip Eade was born in Shropshire and graduated from Bristol University. He was briefly a criminal lawyer before turning to journalism. For several years he was on the staff of the Daily Telegraph as a writer and editor on its obituaries page. He lives in London and the Welsh Marches. Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters is his first book.

Reviews

"An enthralling study of an extraordinary woman." --Joanna Lumley "Percipient, sympathetic, amusing . . . Those with an interest in the adventures of British eccentrics during the last decades of the Empire will have their knowledge agreeably enriched: and those who have never heard of Sylvia Brooke are in for a treat." --Michael Holroyd "Juicily entertaining . . . an exceptional life, one to which Eade does rich justice." --"Mail on Sunday " "Biting biography . . . draws on family archives to tell the full, jawdropping story of a family more than usually mischevious and dysfunctional." --"The Times " "Eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest." --"Sunday Telegraph" "A thorough, fascinating and rather giddying book . . . most sensational" --"Sunday Times " "Eade has uncovered a mine of marvellous material and handles it all with consummate wit and style . . . a dazzling debut . . . the perfect summer holiday read" --"Country Life" "A scrupulous researcher . . . his prose is clear and his style pleasing: he writes with panache." --"Daily Telegraph " "Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters, shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm...The details are reliably enthralling." --The Wall Street Journal "A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next Game of Thrones novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941." --New York Post "This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity." --The Christian Science Monitor "[An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house." --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post "Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness." --The New York Times Book Review "British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed." --Kirkus Reviews "[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory." --Passport "For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading." --Booklist "Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional." --The Times (London) "The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page." --The Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year "Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read." --The Sunday Telegraph (London) "[Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style." --The Spectator (London) "Amazing and hilarious." --Daily Express (London) "Richly entertaining." --The Irish Times (Dublin) "An incredible story." --Daily Mail (London) -Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters, shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm...The details are reliably enthralling.- --The Wall Street Journal -A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next Game of Thrones novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941.- --New York Post -This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity.- --The Christian Science Monitor -[An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house.- --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post -Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness.- --The New York Times Book Review -British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed.- --Kirkus Reviews -[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory.- --Passport -For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading.- --Booklist -Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional.- --The Times (London) -The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page.- --The Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year -Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read.- --The Sunday Telegraph (London) -[Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style.- --The Spectator (London) -Amazing and hilarious.- --Daily Express (London) -Richly entertaining.- --The Irish Times (Dublin) -An incredible story.- --Daily Mail (London) Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters, shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm The details are reliably enthralling. The Wall Street Journal A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next Game of Thrones novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941. New York Post This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity. The Christian Science Monitor [An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house. Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness. The New York Times Book Review British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed. Kirkus Reviews [A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory. Passport For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading. Booklist Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional. The Times (London) The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page. The Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read. The Sunday Telegraph (London) [Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style. The Spectator (London) Amazing and hilarious. Daily Express (London) Richly entertaining. The Irish Times (Dublin) An incredible story. Daily Mail (London) " Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, "Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters," shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm The details are reliably enthralling. "The Wall Street Journal" A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next "Game of Thrones" novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941. "New York Post" This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity. "The Christian Science Monitor" [An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house. "Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post" Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness. "The New York Times Book Review" British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed. "Kirkus Reviews" [A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory. "Passport" For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading. "Booklist" Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional. "The Times (London)" The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page. "The Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year" Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read. "The Sunday Telegraph (London)" [Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style. "The Spectator (London)" Amazing and hilarious. "Daily Express (London)" Richly entertaining. "The Irish Times (Dublin)" An incredible story. "Daily Mail (London)"" "Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, "Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters," shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm...The details are reliably enthralling."--"The Wall Street Journal ""A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next "Game of Thrones" novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941."--"New York Post " "This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity."--"The Christian Science Monitor" "[An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house."--Jonathan Yardley, "The Washington Post ""Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness."--"The New York Times Book Review" "British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed."--"Kirkus Reviews " "[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful t "This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity."--"Christian Science Monitor" "[An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house."--Jonathan Yardley, "The Washington Post ""Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness."--"The New York Times Book Review" "British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed."--"Kirkus Reviews " "[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory."--"Passport" "For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading."--"Booklist " "Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional."--"The Times" (London) "The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page."--"The Sunday Times" (London), Books of the Year "Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest.... "British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed."--"Kirkus Reviews " "[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory."--"Passport" "For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading."--"Booklist " "Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional."--"The Times" (London) "The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page."--"The Sunday Times" (London), Books of the Year "Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read."--"The Sunday Telegraph" (London) "[Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style."--"The Spectator" (London) "Amazing and hilarious."--"Daily Express" (London) "Richly entertaining."--"The Irish Times" (Dublin) "An incredible story."--"Daily Mail" (London) Praise for "Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters" "Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional."--"The Times" (London) "The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page."--"The Sunday Times" (London), Books of the Year "Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read."--"The Sunday Telegraph" (London) "[Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style."--"The Spectator" (London) "Amazing and hilarious."--"Daily Express" (London) "Richly entertaining."--"The Irish Times" (Dublin) "An incredible story."--"Daily Mail" (London) "A thorough, fascinating, and rather giddying book...Most sensational."--"The Sunday Times" (London) "Traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style...For the true story read Philip Eade."--"The Spectator" (London) "Amazing and hilarious."--"The Daily Express" (London)

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