If it’s not one royal society, it’s another. Have no fear, if you missed David Leffman’s talk about William Mesny at the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong last year, you can listen in to the talk he gave to the Royal Asiatic Society in London in December.

David has been visiting China as a travel writer for 25 years, and he explains how a visit to a very alcoholic village festival called the Sisters’ Meal in Guizhou province (pictured) led to him tracing the footsteps of Mesny, and finding out about the Miao uprising of the mid-1800s that is little remembered today but may have killed up to 3 million people. His book The Mercenary Mandarin tells the story of Mesny’s fascinating travels and adventures across 19th-century China.

Click here to listen to the podcast, and view some of the images that David has taken and collected too.