This is the vivid and colourful story of one of the more remarkable episodes in the 'high Empire' period of British history. The Mahdi's rising in the Sudan in the 1800s - starting as a localized Holy War against the 'decadent' Turkish/ Egyptian overlords - was soon to engulf a million square miles of arid territory and force the hand of a British Liberal Government, whose reluctance to get involved paved the way for the early disasters of the Hicks expedition and Gordon's death at Khartoum. The narrative, which makes excellence use of first-hand diaries and reports, brilliantly describes the strength of the Mahdist movement and the extraordinary devotion and discipline of the Dervish troops. Matching such opponents with stoic endurance were the British, Egyptian and Sudanese Negro soldiers, and the resulting military engagements evoked amazing feats of courage and derring-do on both sides. The Dervish empire outlasted the Mahdi by thirteen years. It ended in the battle of Omdurman and Kitchener's reconquest of the Sudan, which was well supported by Reginald Wingate's military intelligence operations. It had lasted a comparatively brief span of time, but it had been established at the expense not only of the neighbouring Abyssinians but also of the European white man, at a time when the nation concerned - Britain - was approaching the zenith of its imperial power.