Imperial Vanities: Three Victorians, Their Friends and Enemies by Brian Thompson
This is the entwined story of three Victorians. Two of these men were brothers - Sir Samuel Baker, the irrepressible explorer; and Valentine Baker, reckoned to be the leading cavalry officer of the British Army before disgrace overwhelmed him. The third is the troubled Charles "Chinese" Gordon, murdered by the Mahdi's forces in Khartoum. "Imperial Vanities" is an adventure story in the high tradition, ranging from the Upper Nile, to Ceylon, Egypt and the slave markets of the Balkans. In his second book on Victorian life, Brian Thompson recounts the beginnings of the end of British Empire through the story of three men - the explorer Samuel Baker, whose second wife was a slave; his brother Valentine, who indecently assaulted a girl on a train and their friend Gordon of Khartoum, who preferred the company of men and the Bible.