Top positive review
Wonderfully rich and unputdownable
on 27 December 2017
When From the Holy Mountain was published in 1997 (20 years ago!), I had just embarked on my first overseas holiday to Egypt. I spent two weeks travelling between Cairo-Luxor-Aswan (and back again) with my tour group - had I read this tale back then, I would probably have wanted to spend much longer and venture much further afield.
Following in the footsteps of two 6th century monks, William Dalrymple takes us on his five month pilgrimage from Mt Athos in Greece, through Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel, to the Great Kharga Oasis in Upper Egypt. He writes vividly about the distinct landscapes and people he encounters along the way and includes many reference points and stories from the historic journey of the monks (John Mochos and Sophronius) that inspired him. These sit easily alongside Dalrymple's own impressions, discussions and reflections and in this way he creates a wonderful sense of camraderie, a feeling of being alongside him as he travels.
An Observer review on the back cover of the book describes it as "compulsively readable" and I could not have said it any better myself. Wonderfully rich and definitely unputdownable.