In 1839 James Brooke sailed from England to the Far East in search of adventure. Three years later, by luck and guile, he became the de facto king of northern Borneo. A book about Brooke is timely. During the last few decades, the center of gravity of the world’s economic growth has shifted eastward. By vanquishing piracy along the coast of Borneo, Brooke transformed the region, reducing the danger pirates posed to critical shipping lanes and interisland traffic. His impact on modern Southeast Asian history was as profound as that of Sir Stamford Raffles, the architect of modern Singapore.