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As he and his companions travel across the width of Asia—crossing through Acre, Aleppo, Tabriz, Tashkurgan, and other mysterious and sometimes hellish places—they encounter dusty, forgotten roads, unexpected hospitality, and difficult challenges.
Stylish, witty, and knowledgeable about everything from the dreaded order of Assassins to the hidden origins of the Three Magi, this is travel writing at its best. Rich with the sights, smells, history and feel of Asia. A classic. Dalrymple is plainly brilliant, bonkers, or both. Dalrymple recounts his saga with a fine mixture of humour and erudition, and with the exuberance of youth.
It is full of life and very funny. A striking achievement. William Dalrymple is a natural writer. Best of all, he has the gift of comedy. In Xanadu marks the arrival of a new star. Clearly the stuff bestsellers are made of. Read An Excerpt. Add to Cart. Also available from:. Available from:.
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In Xanadu: A Quest
At best, this book is comical in its approach. It is certainly not deserving of the label of a serious travel book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.
The book begins with William Dalrymple taking a vial of holy oil from the burning lamps of the Holy Sepulchre , which he is to transport to Shangdu , the summer seat of the King Kubla Khan. It has been mentioned that Kubla Khan wanted a hundred learned men armed with Christian knowledge to come to his Khanate and spread the knowledge of Christianity. However, that plan was abandoned, and Marco Polo, along with his uncle, set out from Jerusalem on the silk route to Shang-du, to deliver a vial of the holy oil, which was rumoured to be inexhaustible, and therefore kept the lamps at the Sepulchre constantly burning. The rest of the journey is outlined with descriptions of most of the ancient sites along the Silk Route, which Marco Polo was supposed to have passed. The author compares the old time splendor of the cities on the Silk Route to their present physical and political conditions, and thereby illustrates the changes. Of special note is the part on his passage through the then revolution-torn Iran.