Michael Palin's personality is a combination of some very disparate elements, many of them displayed at their most attractive in Sahara
. There's the friendly, avuncular manner; the easy-going charm that women find so attractive; and that vein of surrealistic, sardonic humour that is the legacy of his Monty Python days. All these characteristics combined to create the perfect host for the ambitious travel programmes with which he's latterly been associated. The shows (and the handsome companion books that invariably accompany them) avoid the sometimes over-serious approach of other presenters and show us some very exotic parts of the world filtered through Palin's very idiosyncratic vision. Audiences and readers can't get enough.
Sahara gives us the latest of his epic voyages, and this one possibly represents the most arduous challenge of his career: across the massive and unforgiving Sahara desert. In this beautifully produced volume (studded with some eye-catching colour photographs), we are taken on a unique journey, as Palin reveals the Sahara to us as something considerably more than endless sand dunes. Facet by facet, Michael Palin uncovers a colourful and eccentric panoply of cultures, with chequered histories that stretch back to the dawn of time. Beginning (and ending) in Gibraltar, we are taken from the fabled realms of the ancient Egyptians to the Islamic republics of the present day, as Palin conjures up a journey that alternates between gallows humour and often considerable discomfort. Most of us will never experience the teeming nightlife of Dakar or travel down the river Niger to the fabled city of Timbuktu. But Palin has done it for us, and this book (with or without the accompanying TV series) is a highly enjoyable way to relive that journey with him. --Barry Forshaw
What can I say except WOW! Sales are just wonderful and Michael is in the middle of his November/December two-week tour. His fans are still coming out tothe signings in their droves and buying lots of copies, ensuring that SAHARAhasn't dropped off it's number one slot in THE SUNDAY TIMES - everything looks set for it staying there till Christmas. I hope you all got a chance to see the wonderful one hour film which Michael and David Attenborough put together celebrating David's 50 years in television called LIFE ON AIR which was shown on Sunday December 1st on BBC 1. Just to remind you of all the coverage we've received: * DAILY TELEGRAPH serial and interview* My London in ES MAGAZINE* PARKINSON on BBC 1 Saturday 28th September.* RADIO TIMES - front cover and huge illustrated feature to run week of the 13th October.* SUNDAY TIMES, TRAVEL SECTION - has written a travel front of 2,500 words about his train journeys in the Sahara. Ran 13th October* DAILY MIRROR, LOOK MAGAZINE - interviewran 5th October* INDEPENDENT, DEBORAH ROSS INTERVIEW -ran Monday 7th October* GOOD HOUSEKEEPING - main interview for their November issue, out 14th October* BBC 2 LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND - to be broadcast at the end of November* CONDE NAST TRAVELLER -piece about the Paris -Dakar rally for October issue, out now.* YOU MAGAZINE, MAIL ON SUNDAY - Q&A interview over double page spread ran 6th October* WOMAN MAGAZINE - interview to run week of 30th September.* TV TIMES, TV QUICK, WHAT'S ON TV -* PA NEWS, HAM & HIGH, CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL Reviews for the book have been excellent too: 'An engaging read..... agood-humoured romp through the greatest desert on earth.'Justin Marozzi, THESPECTATOR 'This book is not only an interesting account of his adventures, but also a fantastic pictorial record.'HELLO 'It's brisk, fresh and like the programmes, makes you want to go where he has gone, if not necessarily to eat camel liver'THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 'The book is a classic for the armchair traveller and one is left full of admiration for the good-natured patience of our genial guide, Michael Palin.'Cathal O'Shannon, IRELAND ON SUNDAY 'This is explorer-adventurer Michael Palin at his best.'GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE