When the late Edward Butler’s Will informs his spoiled heir that his sole inheritance is a sprawling coffee plantation in distant Ceylon, young John Butler resentfully decides to travel there from his home in Manchester to sign the deeds – and sell the estate as soon as possible (in order to repay his vast gambling debts).
But his plans soon go awry. Taunted by brutal plantation-owner William Paget, John rashly determines to make a go of it. Soon after his arrival in sweltering Ceylon, a storm ravages the estate and destroys what remains of his already blighted coffee-crop. John is about to give up for good and go home when he discovers among the ruined trees a sturdy crop of tea-bushes.
Soon, Butler’s tea plantation is thriving, he has fallen in love and he is starting to feel at home in his new life. But John has made an enemy of William Paget, and the older man will stop at nothing to see his rival’s business founder. When the bank from which John has borrowed money collapses, he is forced to risk everything he owns and loves on one final, epic gamble.
One Man's Empire is a bracing piece of storytelling, a suspenseful and action-packed adventure and a gripping tale of one man's coming-of-age during the heyday of the British Empire.