Monday, 23 September 2013

Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah

This book is the most unusual I have come across for quite some time. It is set in the regency period when our aptly named 'Mad' King George III was on the throne of Britain and the Prince Regent spent money as if there was no tomorrow. I loved the layout, with snippets of what comes next at the start of every chapter.

A plot of greed, murder, love and truth and based on a true story, it was a time when gold was sought after in far off lands and the British were not having their finest hour. The legend of Timbuctoo was talked of with great excitement by Britain's elite, the promise of a city made of gold too tantalising to ignore. Sponsors were sought for a planned military expedition to take and plunder the city before the French got there first and fortunes were staked against the success. The expedition is sent and news of its success highly anticipated.

Meanwhile, Robert Adams, an American, is found half naked in the middle of London and has an elaborate story to tell of Timbuctoo and his time as a slave of its King. As he recounts his tale in afternoon episodes to an enraptured audience of London's elite, all is well until he is asked about the gold.

Tahir Shah has written one of those rare books which really does transport you back to another time. With vivid descriptions and solidly written characters, he takes you back to a time when Britain's class system was at its worst and the ruling class sought to take and make money from whomever and wherever they could regardless of their right to do so. Hmm. I'll leave you with that thought to expand it on your own.

Timbuctoo also comes in a hardback edition which is a bit special, check it out on the book website below.

Buy Timbuctoo

Timbuctoo - Book website with extras

Tahir Shah's Website

Twitter: @HumanStew


  1. This book sounds interesting. I'm putting it on my 'to read' list. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It's a great book! Thanks for your comment, Mary.


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