'Thubron on top form. Richly detailed, immaculately written and full of insights and encounters that bring a complex corner of the world to life'Michael Palin
*As serialised on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*
A dramatic and ambitious new journey for our greatest travel writer
The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific to form the tense, highly fortified border between Russia and China.
In his eightieth year, Colin Thubron takes a dramatic 3,000-mile long journey from the Amur's secret source to its giant mouth. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he makes his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores on horseback, on foot, by boat and via the Trans-Siberian Railway, talking to everyone he meets. By the time he reaches the river's desolate end, where Russia's nineteenth-century imperial dream petered out, a whole, pivotal world has come alive.
The Amur River is a shining masterpiece by the acknowledged laureate of travel writing, an urgent lesson in history and the culmination of an astonishing career.
'Magnificent... Colin Thubron's observations on the relationship between Russia and China are full of insight, from which the world can benefit as it faces the challenges of the twenty-first century' Jung Chang
A fascinating read packed with curiosities and incident ― The Times
Thubron's journey makes for a gripping read...with fascinating political insight ― Sunday Times
Excellent... Thubron's observations are perceptive and lightly delivered ― Literary Review
[Thubron] summons both landscape and people with nuanced sensitivity... Here is a writer at the top of his game, one from whom those toiling on the lower slopes have much to learn ― Spectator
The Amur River is said...to be his [Thubron's] very best book yet ― Tablet, *Books to Look Out For 2021*
About the Author
Colin Thubron is an acknowledged master of travel writing, and the winner of many prizes and awards. His first writing was about the Middle East - Damascus, Lebanon and Cyprus. In 1982 he travelled into the Soviet Union in an ancient Morris Marina, pursued by the KGB, a journey he recorded in Among the Russians. From these early experiences developed his classic travel books: Behind the Wall (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award), The Lost Heart of Asia, In Siberia (Prix Bouvier) and Shadow of the Silk Road. His most recent book is To a Mountain in Tibet (all available in Vintage). Colin Thubron was President of the Royal Society of Literature from 2010 to 2017.