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Hall of a Thousand Columns
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Tim Mackintosh-Smith continues in the footsteps of Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah, revealing the rich tales of an India far off the beaten path of Taj and Raj

About the Author

Tim Mackintosh-Smith studied Classical Arabic at Oxford. At the age of 21, he headed east for the real Arabia. For the past 17 years, he has lived in the Yemeni capital, San'a -- a place which has missed out on many of the more awful aspects of the post-medieval period. His first book, Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land, won the 1998 Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award and his next book Travels with a Tangerine was critically acclaimed.

Reviews

'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 '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 'Part travel book, part biography, part detective story, this is a gripping read and a fitting testament to the Prince of Travellers.' -- Wanderlust 20050301 '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 20050301 'A curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes' -- Guardian Weekly 20050513 'This is engrossing writing to transport even the most languid armchair traveller.' -- Daily Express 20050513 'A thoroughly engaging read ... Smith writes articulately and with good humour ... very rewarding' -- Adventure Travel magazine 20050801 '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 20050501 '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 20050514 '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 20050902 '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 20050902 '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 20050902 '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 20050902 'Part travel book, part biography, part detective story, this is a gripping read and a fitting testament to the Prince of Travellers.' -- Wanderlust 20050301 '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 20050301 'This is engrossing writing to transport even the most languid armchair traveller' -- Daily Express 20050513 'A thoroughly engaging read ... Smith writes articulately and with good humour ... very rewarding' -- Adventure Travel magazine 20050801 '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 20050501 '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 20050514 '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 20050902 '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 20050625 '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 20050301 'Interesting' -- Folkestone Herald and Dover Express 20050224 'Mackintosh-Smith is undoubtedly very clever' -- The Hindu 20050605 'Mackintosh-Smith is an entertaining and thoughtful writer' -- India Today 20050411 'The indefatigable Mackintosh-Smith continues his pursuit of the great Moroccan traveller' -- Conde Nast Traveller 20050401 'Beguiling' -- Publishing News 20050128 'Erudite and entertaining' -- Bookseller 20041203 '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 20050301 'Brilliant' -- Classic FM 20050617 'A very beguiling mix of modern-day travelogue and a history of Magul India' -- Sue Baker, Publishing News 20051125 '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 20041027 '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 20041208 '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 20041101 'Funny, cultured, humane and highly idiosyncratic' -- Barnaby Rogerson, Literary Review 20050301 '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 20050320 '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 20050416 '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 20050408 'Mixing Ibn Battutah's account with his own encounters and journeys, Mackintosh-Smith creates an enchanting text.' -- Ziauddin Sardar, Independent 20050621 'This is his first venture into India but he comes upon the scene like a breath of fresh air.' -- Charles Allen 20041027 '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 20041208 '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 20041101 '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 20050301 'A first-rate travel book, enlivened by the author's erudition, subtle humour, and sheer enthusiasm for his subject' -- Traveller 20050301 'Few writers have the talent to pull off a notable trilogy in any genre...[Mackintosh-Smith's]talent isnot 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 20050320 '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 20050416 '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 20050408 '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 20050621 '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 20050611 '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 20050312 'An engaging homage to one of travel writing's founding fathers' -- Henry Day. London Review of Books 20051215

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