'The Tartan Turban': The Sunday Times' Pick of the Paperbacks


This week The Sunday Times chose the newly released paperback edition of John Keay's instant classic as one of it's must-have paperbacks! 

Read journalist and historian Dominic Sandbrook's great review below and don't miss out on grabbing your copy of the new handy-sized and gorgeous paperback for only £9.99.

'Alexander Gardner has a good claim to be “the most extraordinary of all the 19th century’s great adventurers”. His birth, parentage, even nationality remain a mystery. He claimed to be American, but might have been Irish. He was an outlaw, a mercenary, an explorer; or perhaps just a deserter. He travelled across Central Asia disguised as an Arab; he battled slavers and bandits; he served under Afghan pretenders and fled across the Pamir mountains. In retirement in Kashmir, he dressed from head to foot in tartan. When he died, he was said to have hidden a vast treasure, which was never found. Keay’s book is immaculately researched, but there are huge gaps where there is simply no evidence. Was Gardner, perhaps, just a liar? This seems unlikely. Keay admits that for many years he was very sceptical, yet his research suggests that much of Gardner’s narrative was probably true. No liar could have invented so many plausible details or supplied so many accurate names.'