John Hanning Speke was an adventurer and British Army officer who worked for the Star Chamber.

In 1857, the Star Chamber sent Speke on a mission with Richard Francis Burton to find the Mountains of the Moon under the pretense of searching for the source of the Nile River, which Speke found at Lake Nyanza. He and Burton became repeatedly ill during this journey, and Burton's journals recorded Speke's delirious ravings about bestial winged demons. Despite this, they discovered the remains of the High Place and returned to Britain.

Unfortunately, the journey weakened Speke mentally and physically, and he became obsessed with returning to the Mal'akh city. He mounted a return expedition to Africa, but without Burton's navigational help, he failed to find the Mountains. In his madness, he began to accidentally hint that something wasn't quite right in Africa: his records revealed topographical contradictions and errors, like a stretch where the Nile ran uphill for ninety miles.

Returning to Britain, he began to threaten to tell the Royal Geographical Society about the Star Chamber's secret history and Burton's connection to Faction Paradox, which he must have discovered during their journey together. Burton tried to diffuse the situation by moving the Nile debate to a public forum, but the Faction preemptively sent Byron to assassinate Speke on 15 September 1864. Despite bi-locating to Speke's estate, Burton failed to stop the murder, which was disguised as a suicide. The affair created a long-lasting wedge between Burton and Byron in the Eleven-Day Empire. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

Behind the scenes Edit

Speke was portrayed by Iain Glen in the film Mountains of the Moon.

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