A journey – both historical and contemporary – among the fantastical landscapes, beguiling creatures and isolated tribes of the world's fourth island: Madagascar.
An improbable world beckons. We think we know Madagascar but it's too big, too eccentric, and too impenetrable to be truly understood. If it was stretched out across Europe, the islands would reach from London to Algiers, and yet its road network is barely bigger than tiny Jamaica's. There is no evidence of any human life until about 10,000 years ago, and, when eventually people settled, it was migrants from Borneo – 3,700 miles away – who came out on top.
As well as visiting every corner of Madagascar, John Gimlette journeys deep into its past in order to better understand how Madagascar became what it is today. Along the way, he meets politicians, sorcerors, gem prospectors, militiamen, rioters, lepers and the descendants of seventeenth-century pirates.
John Gimlette is a prize-winning travel writer who has journeyed to more than 60 countries. He is the author of At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, Panther Soup: A European Journey in War and Peace, Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge and Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka. He is a regular contributor of travel features to the Telegraph, Financial Times and Guardian.
"A beautifully written depiction of the people and history of this beguiling and perplexing island"
– Edward Paice