Welcome to the official site of Matthew Parker, author of Monte Cassino, Hell's Gorge and The Sugar Barons - a new history of the rise and fall of the British West Indian empire, published in paperback on 9 February.
For 200 years after 1650 the West Indies were the most fought-over colonies in the world, as Europeans made and lost immense fortunes growing and trading in sugar - a commodity so lucrative that it was known as white gold.
Young men, beset by death and disease, an ocean away from the moral anchors of life in Britain, created immense dynastic wealth but produced a society poisoned by war, sickness, cruelty and corruption.
The Sugar Barons explores the lives and experiences of those whose fortunes rose and fell with the West Indian empire. From the ambitious and brilliant entrepreneurs, to the grandees wielding power across the Atlantic, to the inheritors consumed by decadence, disgrace and madness, this is the compelling story of how a few small islands and a handful of families decisively shaped the British Empire.
Follow me on twitter >>