South from Barbary Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan SaharaBy Justin Marozzi
The stunning debut of a talented young travel writer. `South from Barbary' - as 19th-century Europeans knew North Africa - is the compelling account of Justin Marozzi's 1,500-mile journey by camel along the slave-trade routes of the Libyan Sahara. Marozzi and his travelling companion Ned had never travelled in the desert, nor had they ridden camels before embarking on this expedition. Encouraged by a series of idiosyncratic Tuareg and Tubbu guides, they learnt the full range of desert survival skills, including how to master their five faithful camels. The caravan of two explorers, five camels with distinctive personalities and their guides undertook a gruelling journey across some of the most inhospitable territory on earth. Despite threats from Libyan officialdom and the ancient, natural hardships of the desert, Marozzi and Ned found themselves growing ever closer to the land and its people. More than a travelogue, `South from Barbary' is a fascinating history of Saharan exploration and efforts by early British explorers to suppress the African slave trade. It evokes the poetry and solitude of the desert, the companionship of man and beast, the plight of a benighted nation, and the humour and generosity of its resilient people. Written with infectious wit and insight, and a terrific historical grasp, this is a superbly readable travel book about a rarely visited but enthralling and immensely beautiful region of the world.