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Head of Zeus
The Gardens of Mars
07 Jan 2021 * EBOOK * £8.99 * 9781788544719

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  Illus: 80 colour illus
Exclusive: GB CA AU NZ IN ZA SG US
The Gardens of Mars: Madagascar, an Island Storyby John 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.

'A beautifully written depiction of the history of this beguiling island' Literary Review

'Courageous, exploratory, humane and with a wry sense of humour' Spectator

'A feat of journalism, observation and determination' Dr Alyson Hitch

'Wonderfully witty and wry' Benedict Allen

We think we know Madagascar but it's too big, too eccentric, and too impenetrable to be truly understood. As well as visiting every corner of the island, John Gimlette journeys deep into Madagascar's past. Along the way, he meets politicians, sorcerers, gem prospectors, militiamen, rioters, lepers and the descendants of seventeenth-century pirates. Insightful and wryly humorous, here's an encounter with the people, landscapes, politics and history of one of the most remarkable places on Earth.

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.


'Few writers have delved into [Madagascar's] history and none as thoroughly and mercilessly as Gimlette ... His descriptions of the everyday sights of Madagascar are wonderful ... Enjoy the book as an evocation of this extraordinary island, in all its complexity and all its contradictions' Literary Review

'A beautifully written depiction of the people and history of this beguiling and perplexing island' Edward Paice

'Courageous, exploratory, humane and with a wry sense of humour' Spectator

'Destined to scoop whatever travel book awards are still in existence these days' Dr Alyson Hitch

'The best English-language travel writer out there' Travel Mag

'A fabulous new book' Timeless Travels

'John Gimlette's latest thoughtful study sees him explore the relatively recent human history of the world's fourth largest island' Wanderlust

'This is classic Gimlette – an utter delight. Here is the tale of an enchanted island, one enlivened by its spirited inhabitants and mysterious past. But what makes the book so readable is the author's unfailing eye for the quirky and unexpected. It's a wonderfully witty and wry book, the author's wanderings through Madagascar lit all along the way by his telling eye for detail and accustomed panache' Benedict Allen

'In this chronicle of the fascinating strangeness of Madagascar [...] incredulity, horror and amusement coalesce in Gimlette's customarily talented narration of the weird' Irish Times

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