Trail of Feathers by Tahir Shah
In Search of the Birdmen of Peru

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Enthralled by a line from the chronicle of a sixteenth-century monk, which said that the Incas 'flew like birds' over the jungle, and by the recurring theme of flying in Peruvian folklore, Tahir Shah set out to discover whether the Incas really did flyor glide above the jungles of Peru. Or was the Spanish cleric alluding to flight of a different kind – flight inspired by a powerful hallucinogen?

After gathering equipment in London – and advice, not least from Wilfred Thesiger – the long quest begins. First, to the mountains of Peru and a trek to Machu Picchu, the Incas' most sacred city. Then on to the mountain city of Cusco and a mysterious island on the great glittering expanse of Lake Titicaca. Picking up clues as he goes, the author's trail takes him on to the coast and through the desert, to the immense animal-like etchings which form the Nazca Lines, and a remote burial ground for 30,000 mummified corpses. And finally to an epic river journey up the Amazon to discover the secrets of the Shuar, a tribe of infamous savagery living in the deep jungle of the Upper Amazon.

In the course of this journey we learn much about the Spanish treatment of the Incas, about Peruvian folklore and magic, about the great but brief Amazon rubber boom of the nineteenth century, about head-shrinking, shamanic knowledge and plant-based hallucinogens.

Even for a traveller so used to surreal adventures, there are many strange encounters and physical challenges – gruesome but often hilarious – among madmen and dreamsers, sorcerers, con-men and jungle experts, before Tahir Shah can at last discover the truth about the Birdmen of Peru.

About the Author
Tahir Shah is the author of fifteen books, many of which chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas. For him, there's nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels. Shunning well-trodden tourist paths, he avoids celebrated landmarks, preferring instead to position himself on a busy street corner or in a dusty café and observe life go by. Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there's wonderment to be found wherever we are - it's just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes.

Tahir Shah's books have appeared in thirty languages and in more than seventy editions. They are celebrated for their original viewpoint, and for combining hardship with vivid description.

He also makes documentary films, which are shown worldwide on National Geographical Television, and The History Channel. The latest, LOST TREASURE OF AFGHANISTAN, has been screened on British TV and shown worldwide. While researching the programme Shah was arrested along with his film crew and incarcerated in a Pakistani torture jail, where they spent sixteen terrifying days and nights.

Tahir Shah lives at Dar Khalifa, a sprawling mansion set squarely in the middle of a Casablanca shantytown. He's married to the graphic designer, Rachana Shah, and has two children, Ariane and Timur. His father was the Sufi writer, Idries Shah.
 

About Tahir Shah

See more books from this Author
Tahir Shah was born into an Anglo-Afghan family with roots in the mountain stronghold of the Hindu Kush. His ten books have chronicled a series of fabulous journeys. He lives with his wife and two children in Casablanca.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 19, 2011 by Arcade Publishing. 288 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Trail of Feathers

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The secrets of the jungle environment - the healing properties of the myriad plants surrounding them - come into focus through use of the drug, along with other truths concerning the inner lives of individuals, or visions across time and space.

May 12 2001 | Read Full Review of Trail of Feathers: In Search ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Being the type of guy who hangs about at shrunken head auctions, sleeps in hotel rooms washed in human blood and traverses the U.S. for a month without ever leaving an airport, Shah (Sorcerer's Apprentice) is comfortable in strange company.

| Read Full Review of Trail of Feathers: In Search ...

Reader Rating for Trail of Feathers
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 30 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×