In the spring of A.D. 587, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist embarked on a remarkable expedition across the entire Byzantine world, traveling from the shores of Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. Using Moschos’s writings as his guide and inspiration, the acclaimed travel writer William Dalrymple retraces the footsteps of these two monks, providing along the way a moving elegy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the people who are struggling to keep its flame alive. The result is Dalrymple’s unsurpassed masterpiece: a beautifully written travelogue, at once rich and scholarly, moving and courageous, overflowing with vivid characters and hugely topical insights into the history, spirituality and the fractured politics of the Middle East.
About the Author
William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. When he was twenty-two he wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller "In Xanadu," which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, "City of Djinns," which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the "Sunday Times" Young British Writer of the Year Award.
He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They now divide their time between London and Delhi.
“This splendid book should take its rightful place on the same shelf as Chatwin’s In Patagonia. . . . [It is] rich with the poetry of antique places…[and] transports the fascinated reader smoothly into a vanishing world.”—The Washington Post Book World
“An elegant, poignant, and courageous account of a journey that pits the idealism of the past against the hatred, dispossession, and denial of the present.” —Karen Armstrong
“Dalrymple’s threnody for Eastern Christianity ranks with the great modern travel books, Robert Byron’s Road to Oxiana, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Time of Gifts and Eric Newby’s Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.” —The Scotsman
“Any travel writer who is so good at his job as to be brilliant, applauded, loved and needed has to have an unusual list of qualities, and William Dalrymple has them all in aces. Dalrymple’s ear for conversation is as good as Alan Bennett’s. The best and most unexpected book I have read since I forget when.” —Peter Levi, Literary Review