A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart (Vintage Voyages)
A compulsively readable account of an African country now virtually inaccessible to the outside world and what is perhaps one of the most daring and adventurous journeys a journalist has made in recent years
When Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to cover Africa in 2000 he quickly became obsessed with the idea of recreating H.M. Stanley’s famous expedition – but travelling alone.
Despite warnings that his plan was ‘suicidal’, Butcher set out for the Congo’s eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots. Making his way in an assortment of vessels including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, helped along by a cast of characters from UN aid workers to a campaigning pygmy, he followed in the footsteps of the great Victorian adventurers.
Butcher's journey was a remarkable feat, but the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly in this book, is more remarkable still.
“A remarkable, fascinating book by a courageous and perceptive writer. One of the most exciting books to emerge from Africa in recent years”
Alexander McCall Smith
“An intrepid adventure. In making and describing this journey, Tim Butcher has followed in the footsteps of Stanley and Conrad. It takes a lot of guts to yomp through the Congo and he obviously has plenty of those. But it is the wit and passion of the writing which keeps you engrossed”
“Tim Butcher deserves a medal for this crazy feat. I marvel at his courage and his empathy”
“This is a terrific book, an adventure story about a journey of great bravery in one of the world's most dangerous places. It keeps the heart beating and the attention fixed from beginning to end”
“Blood River represents a remarkable marriage of travelogue and history, which deserves to make Tim Butcher a star for his prose, as well as his courage”
“It's a fine book, and I greatly enjoyed it. It's a story of the extraordinary courage, tenacity and endurance of two men: H. M. Stanley, and Tim Butcher, who wrote it...a great achievement”
“From his adventure he has plundered a wealth of terrific stories, and survived to recite a rosary of unstinting horror”
Nicholas Shakespeare, Telegraph
“Stirring and thought-provoking”
“It throws light on a place that lives in such extreme darkness, most of us have lost sight of it completely. In doing so, it reminds us that travel writing can still be exciting, uncompromising and politically relevant”
Anthony Sattin, Spectator