Highly regarded in India and Persia to this day, Sir John Malcolm is remarkably little known in his native Scotland. This book describes his extraordinary journey from modest origins to become a leading player in the transformation of the East India Company from a largely commercial enterprise into an agent of imperial government, during a crucial period of British and Indian political history. Born in 1769, Malcolm was one of seventeen children of a tenant farmer in the Scottish Borders. Leaving school, family and country at thirteen, he achieved distinction in India over the next half-century. A quintessential all-rounder, he excelled in many fields: as a professional soldier he campaigned with Wellington in south India and rose to Major-General; as an administrator, he pacified Central India and later became Governor of Bombay. He led three Company missions to Persia in the early stages of diplomatic rivalry between Britain and Russia, the Great Game. He was fluent in several languages, and wrote nine influential books, including The History of Persia.
Based on extensive research in Britain, India and Iran, this biography brings to life the story of a talented and ambitious man living in a dramatic era of imperial history.