Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City (Paperback)
  • Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City (Paperback)
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Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City (Paperback)

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£10.99
Paperback 352 Pages / Published: 12/05/2022
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'A jewel of a book' - SUNDAY TIMES 'The pace and deftly woven plot complexity of a John le Carre novel ... A small masterpiece' - GUARDIAN 'Enthralling ... A remarkable story, full of grandeur and violence ... [and] a powerful commentary on the horrors inflicted by the East India Company' - NEW YORK TIMES For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, an ordinary, working-class boy from London turned deserter, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist and highly respected scholar. On the way into one of history's most extraordinary stories, Masson would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. This is a wild journey through nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan, with impeccably researched storytelling that shows us a world of espionage and dreamers, ne'er-do-wells and opportunists, extreme violence both personal and military, and boundless hope. At the edge of empire, amid the deserts and the mountains, it is the story of an obsession passed down through the centuries.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781526603821
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Charles Masson is the quixotic and wildly colourful subject of this exceptional biography ... This is a jewel of a book. It rescues Masson from history's cutting-room floor and brings him richly, ripely to life ... Brave, dedicated, endlessly curious, Masson deserves his rediscovery -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *
Only now, with this superb biography, is Masson's tale told in full for the first time. The result, evocatively written, impeccably researched and minutely footnoted, but with the pace and deftly woven plot complexity of a John le Carre novel, is a small masterpiece. It solves most of the mysteries of Masson's story and deserves all the acclaim it will undoubtedly win ... utterly brilliant -- William Dalrymple * Guardian *
Enthralling ... A remarkable story, full of grandeur and violence ... [and] a powerful commentary on the horrors inflicted by the East India Company ... Richardson's colourful and compelling account gives this forgotten figure his due. -- Joshua Hammer * New York Times *
Masson was one of the most extraordinary of many extraordinary Europeans roaming between Persia and India in the 19th century ... A brilliant and evocative biography, written with consummate scholarship, great style and wit. Through the study of one man, Richardson illuminates an entire world -- Harry Sidebottom * Daily Telegraph *
Masson's story is brilliantly retold by Edmund Richardson ... A lucid, thrilling and poetic narrative that does justice to the subject. -- Bijan Omrani * Literary Review *
History in the best sense of the word - a well-told story that shines a clear and penetrating light on the past. While thoroughly researched and extensively documented, it reads like a thriller by John Grisham. But this is not only a story about Masson and his life. The book helps us understand the mystery of Central Asia and why the struggle to control it is such a central feature of our time ... Marvellously readable. -- Terry W. Hartle * Christian Science Monitor *
Rarely has a work of non-fiction so brilliantly wrong-footed its readers as Edmund Richardson's Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City, which expertly subverts expectations, interweaving narrative, history and biography throughout ... A remarkable achievement, and that rare thing, a book guaranteed to change your perspective on the world -- Sebastian Milbank * Tablet *
Immensely enjoyable ... a highly entertaining representation of the world of 19th-century India and Afghanistan, and of the daredevil antics of an adventurer hooked on the past, looking to survive, prosper and make his mark in a world of shifting sands and shadows * BBC History Magazine *
Richardson is a natural teller of such exuberant stories and the book is full of colourful characters -- A. S. H. Smyth * Spectator *
Richardson skillfully weaves the tale of Alexander's empire with Masson's adventures, using a novelistic approach rather than dry academic one that focuses on the action without sacrificing key details about the history. -- Andrew DeMillo * AP News *
Impressive. In a string of spirited encounters classicist Edmund Richardson tails the vagabond antiquarian who called himself Charles Masson to 1830s Afghanistan ... Masson has at last found the intrepid biographer he has so long deserved. -- John Keay

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“An unknown legend.”

This is the story of Charles Masson and his stranger than fiction life. A deserter from the army, then a doctor, pilgrim and spy he eventually becomes an archaeologist and scholar.
Masson is like a mythical David... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 30

“Riveting True Adventure”

Deserter Charles Masson learns of the lost city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains and embarks on a quest across nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan in search of treasure, archaeology and derring-do.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 24

“Discover a genuine example of truth being so much stranger than fiction.”

Truth is stranger than fiction is too much of an over-used phrase BUT, in this case, it does not come close to describing this fascinating, page turner of a book. The publisher's synopsis does a much better job... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 19

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