Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shadow of the Silk Road and Gentlemen of the Road

I've been searching for the Silk Road through books. It's geography alone is enough to confuse me. And the peoples and history? I need a series of books plus an atlas. Somehow I was lucky enough to find Colin Thurbon, an English travel writer with no fear of roughing it and a consuming interest in history. Thurbon's Shadow of the Silk Road finally gave me a sense of the road as a series of civilizations. On his journey Thurbon searched for the lasting parts of the civilizations namely their buildings usually mosques and tombs. He climbed a cliff into one tomb.

I found Micheal Charbon's Gentlemen of the Road was a perfect compliment to my travelogue. He has written an old fashioned adventure book set in a medieval Khazar Empire. Our heroes are drifters, moral men in their own way who become involved returning a usurped prince to his throne. but the prince turns out - no I can't tell - this is only one of a few classic twists, This book gave me a feeling for the community the many peoples and religions lived in. The production of the book is a pleasure especially the illustrations.

I've noticed on the bookshop shelves a Penguin series of thin paperbacks titled Great Journeys. Marco Polo on The Customs of the Kingdoms of India would be fascinating. Mark Twain on Can-Cans, Cats and Cities of Ash must be about New Orleans. Ernest Shackelton's own account of his Escape from the Antarctic is a must read on leadership. All his men he brought out alive.

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