Troubador Better Conceiv'd than Describ'd

Released: 01/01/2013

ISBN: 9781780883595

Format: Hardback

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Better Conceiv'd than Describ'd

The Life and Times of Captain James King (1750-84), Captain Cook's Friend and Colleague


‘Our feelings could be better conceiv’d than describ’d,’ wrote James King in February 1779 after unwrapping a bundle handed to him by a Hawaiian Priest and finding in it a human thigh, the thigh of his late commander, the renowned Captain James Cook.

Better Conceiv’d than Describ’d is the first full biography of James King – the interesting, though tragically short-lived, Royal Navy Officer in the reign of George III. Captain James King’s adventurous life saw him lay claim to Alaska in the name of George III, fight as a frigate captain in the American War of Independence and test the marine chronometer that revolutionised navigation.

Starting in the small town of Clitheroe (in Lancashire), and taking us to the edges of the then known world on a great voyage of discovery, this book shows the development of James King not only as a sailor but also as an astronomer sponsored by the Board of Longitude, while also examining the death of Captain Cook at the hands of the Hawaiians.

With cameo appearances from Horatio Nelson, the infamous William Bligh, society artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, diarist Fanny Burney and statesman Edmund Burke, this is a ‘who’s who’ of Georgian society and shows the importance of patronage in the second half of the 18th century.

Better Conceiv’d than Describ’d is a must read for anyone interested in Captain Cook, Georgian and maritime history

A major contribution to the Cook canon

by Cliff Thornton

This much-needed biography brings to life the quiet brilliance of James King - one of Captain Cook's most respected and beloved men. Bursting with detailed research, it paints a vivid picture not only of James King the man, but the turbulent politics and social networks that defined the times, and helped to create Britain's global maritime legacy.

by Vanessa Collingridge

You certainly have produced a vastly informative, and interesting account of James King and I congratulate you

by Geoff King

I am really enjoying The Book - it is both scholarly and very

by Norman Thorpe

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