As a captain in the Georgian navy Arthur Phillip's integrity, intelligence and persistence made him perfectly suited to the role that history and circumstance presented to him in 1788, but landing the First Fleet at Botany Bay was only one of many achievements in a captivating life. His is a story of political intrigue, eighteenth-century sailing ships, and the race for economic and geographic advancement in a world that was becoming truly international. It is a tale of ambition, of wealthy widows and marriage mistakes; of money and trade, espionage and mercenaries, hardship and illness. Beyond the facts of discovery and exploration, this book reveals the extraordinary idealism and the influence of the Enlightenment on the founding of Australia. Michael Pembroke provides a compelling portrait of Arthur Phillip. He carefully weaves together the little-known facts and projects us into life in Georgian England - a time when newly discovered territories were the road to untold wealth. 'At long last, a finely written biography of the astonishing egalitarian who became Australia's founding father. There are gripping descriptions of his amazing sea voyages and moving accounts of the humanity he brought to the government of a penal colony that only he thought would ever become a nation. The book shows the moral vision of a man who gave history its best example of the possibility of the Reformation of the human spirit.' -Geoffrey Robertson QC 'A gripping life of a quite extraordinary man: the most important enlightenment life story that we've never had properly told before.' -Andrew Marr, BBC broadcaster and television host 'The colour and dash of Arthur Phillip's extraordinary life, lived in amazing times in every corner of the world, is told just brilliantly in Michael Pembroke's utterly absorbing book, destined to become a classic of Imperial literature.' -Simon Winchester, bestselling author and journalist Michael Pembroke is a writer, judge and naturalist. He spent much of his childhood travelling to many of the maritime ports of the colonial era. His first school was at Sandhurst in England in the grounds of a military academy and his last on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. He completed his education at Cambridge and now lives and writes in Sydney and at the hamlet of Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. In 2009 he wrote Trees of History & Romance, a paean to nature and poetry. He is a direct descendant of Nathanial Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne, who arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788.