Dear Tyrant, as his wife called him, is the story of Albert James Allom (1825-1909), his family and childhood, his adventurous youth, his relationship with Edward Gibbon Wakefield, his struggle for success, and his philosophy of life. His story begins in London then moves to New Zealand and, later, the West Indies before he returns to New Zealand. Later again, seven years are spent in Tasmania before a final return to New Zealand. In New Zealand he was a survey cadet for the New Zealand Company in Wellington, Manawatu and Otago before becoming an enterprising run-holder in the Wairarapa, a mining and farming estate manager on Great Barrier Island, the registrar of mines at Thames and Ohinemuri goldfields, and eventually a very active retiree in Auckland. The story of his life is laced with human insight, humour and tragedy. Many notable figures during New Zealand’s colonial era appear in Allom’s own writings which add immediacy to the narrative and there are poignant passages about his beloved wife, Eliza, and their family of nine children.