The Prester Quest – Nicholas Jubber

A hefty hardback which contains a great tale of two chaps on the trail of Prester John, the mythical and mystical mediaeval priest-king who, legend had it, ruled over a Christian kingdom located somewhere in the mysterious orient, beyond the muslim-controlled lands of the Middle East and North Africa, and with wealth beyond compare.

In 2000 Nicholas Jubber persuaded his mate Mike to accompany him on a mission to follow in the footsteps of Master Philip, a mediaeval physician, who in 1177 was instructed by Pope Alexander III to carry a letter to Prester John asking for help in Christendom’s Crusade in the Holy Land.

We follow Nick and Mike’s journey from Venice around the Eastern Mediterranean and the still-troubled lands of the Middle East and thence into North Africa and south, through the Sudan and into Ethiopia. En route we learn how history, religion and current affairs continue to combine in much the same way as they did over 800 years ago when Master Philip and Pope Alexander were exchanging letters and progress reports.

A very readable book that ticks the boxes for travel writing and mediaeval+modern history. If you like William Dalrymple, you’ll like this (and vice versa).

Buy it: Amazon link