It is 1936 and Carl Soljuk, an unassuming Shakespeare professor, has his orderly existence turned upside down when he receives some troubling news: his brother has disappeared in Syria, and the only clue to his whereabouts is part of an old manuscript detailing the Eastern travels of an English nobleman. So begins a search that will take Carl far from the comfort of London’s libraries and lecture halls, and back towards his Syrian homeland via the waterways of Venice, the cobbled streets of Sofia, and the bazaars of Istanbul. Yet with shadowy figures on his tail, Carl soon finds himself in a race against time, both to locate his brother and to discover the incredible secret of the Levantine journal…
In his remarkable life on the road and in the many places he has called home, Bradley Jamieson has encountered a truly exceptional series of strange, hilarious and downright nonsensical neighbours. From the fields of Sussex to the marketplaces of Yemen, from Brooklyn Heights to the centre of Paris, from pig farms to private jets, he chronicles two hundred of his memories in this entertaining anthology. From horse-riding in Normandy to tea in an Egyptian palace, from buying antiques in Paris to hunting bears in Louisiana, he meets chemistry teachers and princes, pastry-makers and daffodil farmers, Dutch drivers, Scottish priests and Swiss mountaineers. In the end, each of the two hundred stories is more surprising than the next.
When Oriental scholar Alan Radville and his son Victor buy Westhill House from renowned billionaire, Sir Chester Cophurst, little do they know that they are about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime. From the universities and auction houses of London, the three men head to the bazaars of the Middle East in search of a lost manuscript. They soon learn the ancient art of negotiation, and the quest changes at every turn. Travelling to Egypt, Turkey and Syria, the team gathers new members: the granddaughter of Sir Chester, Cleona, and a Syrian curator of Hittite archaeology, Siham. Together, Sir Chester’s team learn the benefits of perseverance and the value of dialogue between East and West.