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Head of Zeus
The Gardens of Mars
07 Jan 2021 * HARDBACK * £30 * 9781788544726

A portrait of Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island and a place of enduring fascination for its rich biodiversity (including a plethora of endemic species), as well as for its tangled and troubled history.

Non Fiction / WTL (Travel)
Extent: 464 pages  Format: 234 x 156 mm Illus: 80 integrated colour
Exclusive: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG   Not for sale: CA US
The Gardens of Mars: Madagascar, an Island StoryJohn Gimlette

A journey – both historical and contemporary – among the fantastical landscapes, resourceful inhabitants and isolated tribes of the world's fourth-largest island of enduring fascination for its rich biodiversity: 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 island 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, sorcerers, 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.

Madagascar is of deep interest to conservationists.

Aimed both at the tourist and the armchair traveller.

A winning mix of travel and history from a prize-winning writer.

MARKET: William Dalrymple; Tim Butcher.

'The reader in search of a thoughtful adventure is in good hands. Gimlette brings a brisk barrister-like inquisition to proceedings, allied with amiable good humour and a searching interest in the history of peoples and places ... Intrepid to the last ... Rich in humour, full of insight and humanity, Elephant Complex is a very fine tribute to this enigmatic island nation' Spectator.
'Admirable in its candour ... Elephant Complex has a sting in its tail' TLS.
'Fabulously vivid and absorbing' Independent, on Wild Coast.
'Panther Soup is at once raw and erudite, deeply moving and strangely leisurely. It's also rich in black humour and insight' Guardian.
'As a born traveller and writer, he takes an epicurean pleasure in place and language'
Sunday Telegraph, on Panther Soup

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