Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)
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Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback) Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback) Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback) Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)

Hall of a Thousand Columns (Paperback)

(author), (illustrator)
£12.99
Paperback 352 Pages
Published: 13/03/2006
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All the best armchair travellers are sceptics. Those of the fourteenth century were no exception: for them, there were lies, damned lies, and Ibn Battutah's India.

Born in 1304, Ibn Battutah left his native Tangier as a young scholar of law; over the course of the thirty years that followed he visited most of the known world between Morocco and China. Here Tim Mackintosh-Smith retraces one leg of the Moroccan's journey -- the dizzy ladders and terrifying snakes of his Indian career as a judge and a hermit, courtier and prisoner, ambassador and castaway. From the plains of Hindustan to the plateaux of the Deccan and the lost ports of Malabar, the author reveals an India far off the beaten path of Taj and Raj.

Ibn Battutah left India on a snake, stripped to his underpants by pirates; but he took away a treasure of tales as rich as any in the history of travel. Back home they said the treasure was a fake. Mackintosh-Smith proves the sceptics wrong. India is a jewel in the turban of the Prince of Travellers. Here it is, glittering, grotesque but genuine, a fitting ornament for his 700th birthday.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9780719565878
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 283 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This is his first venture into India but he comes upon the scene like a breath of fresh air. - Charles Allen, author of Duel in the Snows

Were he to jump on a camel for his second volume in the great traveller's footsteps ... he would surely be the Burton of his day - Praise for previous works The Spectator

Mackintosh-Smith has all the assets a travel writer needs: erudition without pretension; rather subversive good humour without relentless jokiness; and a descriptive eye capable of sketching complex detail in a few telling lines of ink - Praise for previous work, The Daily Telegraph

Esoteric, raunchy, hilarious, erudite and transporting, The Hall of a Thousand Columns is a marvellous traveller's tale like no other. I sense that Ibn Battutah has finally met his match. - Eric Hansen

As a writer and traveller Tim Mackintosh-Smith has two great gifts: he slips effortlessly between the past and the present, and he takes us with him. This is his first venture into India but he comes upon the scene like a breath of fresh air. - Charles Allen

Tim Mackintosh-Smith has recreated, with enviable intimacy and elegance, the extraordinary life and times of the greatest traveller of pre-modern times. - Pankaj Mishra, author of The Romantics and

Funny, cultured, humane and highly idiosyncratic - Barnaby Rogerson, Literary Review

Part travel book, part biography, part detective story, this is a gripping read and a fitting testament to the Prince of Travellers. - Wanderlust

Tim's aim is to sift tangible history from magical reality ...and he proves the sceptics wrong: India is the Jewel in the Prince of Travellers' turban. - The Nehru Centre

Few writers have the talent to pull off a notable trilogy in any genre . . . Mackintosh-Smith's is not in doubt . . . Rich and fascinating - Sunday Times

With his hallmark combination of irreverence and empathy, Mackintosh-Smith . . . has confected a curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes . . . an engaging portrait of modern-day India - the charm, humour and quirkiness - Guardian

A curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes - Guardian Weekly

A book that travels in time as well as in space . . . Intersperses dizzying glimpses of 14th-century Islamic court life with [the author's] own comic attempts to navigate modern-day India - Daily Mail

This is engrossing writing to transport even the most languid armchair traveller. - Daily Express

Mixing Ibn Battutah's account with his own encounters and journeys, Mackintosh-Smith creates an enchanting text. - Ziauddin Sardar, Independent

A thoroughly engaging read . . . Smith writes articulately and with good humour . . . very rewarding - Adventure Travel magazine

Mackintosh-Smith seems to tread a pleasing path between using Ibn-Battutah's work as his personal guide book and taking in his surroundings as they come. The best thing about this book is how the past and the present are mingled - Global magazine

This is his first venture into India but he comes upon the scene like a breath of fresh air. - Charles Allen

A deft use of language, anecdote, scholarship and a daunting appreciation for all that is wonderful and absurd in the world. Esoteric, raunchy, hilarious, erudite and transporting, The Hall of a Thousand Columns is a marvellous traveller's tale like no other. I sense that Ibn Battutah has finally met his match. - Eric Hansen

Another triumph, travel writing of the very highest order and the perfect ripsote to any publisher or agent who has been predicting the demise of the genre. - The Spectator

'The author's research has been thorough, but his tone is often enjoyably light . . . The Hall of a Thousand Columns has achieved what its author intended' - Times Literary Supplement

'A rich texture of multiple perception . . . Beneath this funny, cultured, humane and highly idiosyncratic travelogue there is a darkly tragic theme. For interwoven with the real-time journey of Mackintosh-Smith through India is an enquiry into the nature of Islam in India' - Barnaby Rogerson, Literary Review

A first-rate travel book, enlivened by the author's erudition, subtle humour, and sheer enthusiasm for his subject - Traveller

Few writers have the talent to pull off a notable trilogy in any genre . . . [Mackintosh-Smith's] talent is not in doubt. . . . The author appears as an enthusiastic researcher, a thirsty drinker, and a traveller who allows little to deter him from his path . . . Rich and fascinating - Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

With his hallmark combination of irreverence and empathy, Mackintosh-Smith ... has confected a curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes. But above all, he engages with ideas, and his aim is that of the novelist - to send a bucket down into the subconscious. - Guardian Weekly

Tim's aim is to sift tangible history from magical reality . . . Mackintosh-Smith proves the sceptics wrong: India is the Jewel in the Prince of Travellers' turban - The Nehru Centre

Wisecracking . . . One of the most enjoyable things about Mackintosh-Smith's narrative is the way it intersperses dizzying glimpses of 14th-century Islamic court life with his own comic attempts to navigate modern-day India. A book that travels in time as well as in space - Daily Mail

Mixing Ibn Battutah's account with his own encounters and journeys, Mackintosh-Smith creates an enchanting text . . . This is an engrossing book - Ziauddin Sardar, Independent

This is engrossing writing to transport even the most languid armchair traveller - Daily Express

'An engaging portrait of modern-day India - the charm, humour, quirkiness and the way in which the country constantly juxtaposes the extraordinary with the mundane' - Guardian

'The wellspring of his writing is his profound immersion in a Muslim culture . . . the strength of his work derives from his position as both insider and outsider in the Arab world . . . Mackintosh-Smith is in that same learned yet good-humoured tradition [as Leigh Fermor]' - Daily Telegraph

'An engaging homage to one of travel writing's founding fathers' - Henry Day. London Review of Books

Remarkable . . . [He] writes so engagingly and with such felicitous phrasing . . . Another triumph, travel writing of the very highest order and the perfect ripsote to any publisher or agent who has been predicting the demise of the genre - Justin Marozzi, The Spectator

'Mackintosh-Smith's own comments and causeries . . . transform mundane travel writing into the beguiling, the brilliant and the brave. The writing goes beyond descriptive or recollective to include a style - between commentary and epic poetry - that is as individual, as quirky, as IB's own . . . Engrossing . . . Classic' - Melbourne Age

'Refreshingly robust . . . Mackintosh-Smith perseveres with good humour, displaying a high tolerance for puns and a poet's ear for "linguistic oxymora" . . . A fascinating journey in good company - a traveller could have no better gift.' - Geographical

'Interesting' - Folkestone Herald and Dover Express

'Mackintosh-Smith is undoubtedly very clever' - The Hindu

'Mackintosh-Smith is an entertaining and thoughtful writer' - India Today

'The indefatigable Mackintosh-Smith continues his pursuit of the great Moroccan traveller' - Condé Nast Traveller

'Beguiling' - Publishing News

'Erudite and entertaining' - Bookseller

'Blending a passion for writing with a vanished world, he triumphs . . . Splendid . . . I would like to write an essay about this book, it is so good' - Good Book Guide

'Brilliant' - Classic FM

'A very beguiling mix of modern-day travelogue and a history of Magul India' - Sue Baker, Publishing News

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