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Timbuctoo Holiday Sales

Timbuctoo book cover straight on 600pxSeveral people have emailed me lately requesting bulk pricing for Timbuctoo so they can purchase multiple copies for the holidays. I’ve spoken with my warehouse people, and they said that orders need to be in by tomorrow, 18th of December at the latest in order to reach you by the holidays. Because we’ll be selling these directly, we can offer a huge discount on the books.

Regular UK pricing of Timbuctoo is £29.99, currently available on Amazon at a discount of £25.49. We can offer you the bulk price of £20 for 5, 10, or more books (in multiples of 5).

Regular USA pricing of Timbuctoo is $49.99, currently available on Amazon at the same price. We can offer you the bulk price of $33 for 5, 10, or more books (in multiples of 5).

If you’re in the UK, and would like to order 5 books to be delivered to one address, please order here:

If you’re in the UK, and would like to order 10 books to be delivered to one address, please order here:

If you’re in the USA, and would like to order 5 books to be delivered to one address, please order here:

If you’re in the USA, and would like to order 10 books to be delivered to one address, please order here:


In Search of King Solomon's Mines

An inky hand-drawn map was hanging on the back wall of Ali Baba’s tourist shop, deep in the maze of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Little more than a sketch, and smudged by a clumsy hand, the map showed a river and mountains, a desert, a cave, and what looked like a trail between them. At the end of the trail was an oversized ‘X’.

‘Is it a treasure map?’ I asked. Ali Baba, an old man with a pot-belly, glanced up from his newspaper. ‘It shows the way to the fabled gold mines of Suleiman,’ he said. After an hour of negotiation, I slid a wad of Israeli shekels across the counter and left with the map. Anyone else may have scoffed at the object, or laughed at my gullibility. After all, Jerusalem’s Old City is cluttered with Holy Land bric-a-brac. I had a feeling from the start that Ali Baba’s map was suspect, for it had no place names or co-ordinates.

But to me it symbolised a family obsession.

To continue reading, see my full article at Explorers Connect.


Timbuctoo Update: hardcover, ebook, Q&A, and upcoming events

This is a limited edition hardcover of Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah, with non-wood paper, marbled end-papers, a pouch at the back with extra goodies, and silk bookmark.

Timbuctoo limited edition hardcover

Hello! I wanted to share a quick recap of news and coming events…


As you may already know, the Timbuctoo hardcover will be out next month. This is a very special edition, with six fold-out maps, marbled end-papers, a pouch at the back with goodies, a silk bookmark, and non-wood paper. It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon, or (if you’re in the US) you can enter for a chance to win one of six copies on Goodreads.

Once the book has been released, I will be holding pop-up sales in London, where you can get a signed copy. I’ll be sharing more details on this early next month.


The Timbuctoo e-book launch was initially set for August. However, the date has been changed, and Timbuctoo is NOW available on Kindle and other e-readers. Click on one of the links below to get your copy:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

If you’d like a preview before you buy, you can download the first chapter in PDF. Hope you enjoy it!


In other news, I held my first AMA on Reddit yesterday afternoon. You can still access the questions and answers on Reddit, where the conversation will be archived. If you have any other questions for me, I will be holding an Author Q&A on Goodreads from July 1-15. Several conversation threads have already been set up, so please introduce yourself and feel free to get started asking questions at any time. I will begin answering them on July 1.


If you’re in the UK, get ready for a Timbuctoo picnic, which will be held in London in mid-July. More details on that early next month. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, as it will be held rain or shine.

July 1, 2008 Posted by tahir in Travel


A few years ago I was in Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. The city is one of those strange hybrids of culture and life that shouldn’t really exist at all. It’s an anomaly, a metropolis set deep in nature’s jungle, born from man’s greed, the greed for rubber.

When rubber seeds were smuggled out of the Upper Amazon to Malaya an entire cult of decadence collapsed. As everyone knows (especially those who have enjoyed Fitzcarraldo), there is an opera house in Manaus, and buildings constructed in the grandest styles.

So it was that I was sitting on the banks of the Amazon drinking something cool, marvelling at its silent immensity, when a man sat down beside me. He was lean, tanned, and had one of those ruddy faces, that comes from hard work and alcohol. He shook my hand, wouldn’t release the fingers.

         ‘I am Oskar,’ he said, ‘a fisherman.’

         I wriggled my fingers free and back to my glass, told him my name.

         ‘I don’t have any money,’ I said.

         After all, I’d been robbed a few days earlier near the Cathedral and had found it best to trust no one. I finished my drink, placed a folded note on the tabletop, clenched my knees to stand.

         Just before I was upright, I felt Oskar’s hand on mine. It was rough, a little damp, the thumb missing its tip.

         ‘I will tell you about the mermaid,’ he said.


         ‘The mermaid.’

         ‘What mermaid?’

         ‘The one swimming out there in the river.’

         Oskar nudged my empty glass.

         ‘A cerveza would cool my throat,’ he said.

         I sank back into my chair, nodded to the waiter. A beer instantly arrived, dripping in condensation. Oskar drank it in one gulp.

         ‘So tell me.’

         ‘About what?’

         ‘About the mermaid,’ I said icily.

         ‘I have seen her,’ said the fisherman, ‘she is the most beautiful creature alive. Her hair is golden, her face like an angel’s, and her body… well, it’s pink and slippery like a boutou, a pink dolphin.’

         ‘When did you see her?’

         ‘Oh when I was a young man,’ said Oskar dreamily. ‘I was out in my father’s canoe, fishing in the twilight. The air was very still, as if something terrible might be about to happen. The moon was almost full, its light radiant, the colour of polished silver. I was just about to throw out the net again when the water rippled all around the canoe and…’


         ‘And the head of golden hair pushed up out of the Amazonas. I thought at first it was a dead body. But the face was smiling, the face of a woman about my age. Time froze. I froze.’

         ‘Did she speak to you?’

         Oskar made a fist with his hand and blew into it.

         ‘Oh yes she did.’

         ‘What did she say?’

         Again, the fisherman blew into his fist. His eyes suddenly seemed glazed over.

         ‘She said that the loneliness of the river was mirrored above in the heavens, by the infinity of the stars.’