Traces the footsteps of a medieval journey across the ancient continents in light of the present day.
In 1177, Pope Alexander III - eager to secure a Christian ally whose reputed wealth would prove invaluable to the Crusades - wrote a letter to the legendary Priest-King of the Indies, Prester John. As his emissary, he chose his physician, one Master Philip. However, no one knew where the elusive monarch's kingdom lay (or whether he even existed). Undeterred, Master Philip set out from Rome . . . and was never heard of again.
Then in October 2000, Nicholas Jubber discovered a copy of Pope Alexander's original letter and conceived a plan: to complete Master Philip's mission, to find Prester John and deliver the letter - albeit eight hundred and twenty-four years late.
'The Prester Quest' is Nick Jubber's account of the remarkable journey he made - by foot, ferry, bus, tractor, train and horse-drawn cart - from Italy, via Turkey, the Middle East and Sudan, to Ethiopia, and the mysterious subterranean tomb of a medieval king.
Crammed full of curious charts, footnotes, arcane history and learned trivia, ancient and modern - from the engineering secrets of Templar castles and the mystic origins of the Whirling Dervish to the various names for the Middle Eastern water pipe and the unusual nature of Ethiopian time-keeping - it is a winning combination of a young man's enthusiasm and sense of adventure with an historian's understanding of time and place and a traveller's eye for his surroundings and the people he meets on the way.