Shadow of the Silk Road (Paperback)
Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List
“Exploring a largely unknown part of the world (the silk route between China and Turkey) with Thubron is quite an adventure. You will come away from this book with a better understanding of the people, religions, and cultures that are of great importance in our world today. To be able to discuss the complexities with others only enhances the trip. I had a great time!”
— Mary McHale, Fox Tale Books, New Durham, NH
To travel the Silk Road, the greatest land route on earth, is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions, and inventions. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart, and camel, Colin Thubron covered some seven thousand miles in eight months—out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey—and explored an ancient world in modern ferment.
Colin Thubron is an acclaimed travel writer and novelist. His first books were about the Middle East – Damascus, Lebanon and Cyprus. In 1982 he travelled by car into the Soviet Union, a journey he described in Among the Russians. From these early experiences developed his classic travel books: Behind the Wall: A Journey through China (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award), The Lost Heart of Asia, In Siberia (Prix Bouvier), Shadow of the Silk Road and To a Mountain in Tibet.
Among other honors, Colin Thubron has received the Ness award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. In 2007 he was made CBE. He was elected President of the Royal Society of Literature from 2010 to 2017, and named an RSL Companion of Literature in 2020.
“Moving in a way that’s rare in travel literature...Thubron goes to places most other sojourners can’t.” — Lorraine Adams, New York Times Book Review
“[Thubron is] intrepid, resourceful . . . and immensely talented . . . a splendid book.” — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
“Thubron has done it all, with sparkling grace . . . He is a brilliant brooder, artful in his melancholy.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“An exhausting journey and a marvelous book.” — Harper's Magazine
“A fantastically descriptive writer, Thubron digs through the history of Central Asia...Perfect for vicarious travelers.” — New York magazine
“An illuminating account of a breathtaking journey.” — Booklist
“[An] absorbing travel epic…Thubron’s poetic eye still teases out gorgeous subtleties in the panorama.”” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Thubron] augments his trenchant narrative with impressive historical background and evocative, lyrical prose…An impressive, rewarding...trek.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Splendid…Sumptuously detailed, elegantly written and riveting...Thubron misses nothing.” — Providence Journal