In December 1903 a British army marched over the Himalayas to counter a non-existent Russian threat and was confronted by a medieval Tibetan army ordered to stop it by non-violent means. It was a clash between the mightiest political power in the world and the weakest.
Leading the mission was the charismatic Francis Younghusband. Commanding the army escort was an officer determined to do things by the book: General James Macdonald. The result was conflict at every level.
Drawing on diaries, letters and unpublished first-hand accounts, Charles Allen reveals not only the true character of one of Britain's great imperial heroes but also the calamitous outcome for the Tibetan people of Britain's last attempt at empire-building.