Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Explorers of the Nile, By Tim Jeal


Seeking imperial glory, British explorers found gruesome ordeal.

After escaping from spear-throwing Somali captors while his hands were bound, John Hanning Speke used a knife to attack a beetle lodged in his ear ("the most painful thing I ever endured").

Get money off this book at the Independent book shop

Confirming Speke's discovery of the source of the White Nile, Stanley lost half his 228-strong party.

Jeal's splendidly absorbing account pays tribute to the African supporters of these adventurers. Ten lost their lives in a five-month journey bringing Livingstone's body to Europeans, only to be told, "Bury the body at once".