The Collector of Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton

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9780061351938: The Collector of Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton

“Iliya Troyanov has turned Burton’s unbelievable life into believable fiction, achieving a rounded and satisfying portrait that traditional biography could never match.”
New York Times Book Review

The Collector of Worlds is a fictionalized account of the infamous life and times of Sir Richard Francis Burton—the British colonial officer stationed in India who made the Haj to Mecca, discovered the source of the Nile, spoke twenty-nine languages, and translated A Thousand and One Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra into English. The winner of the fiction prize of Germany’s Leipzig Book Fair in 2006 and the Berlin Literary Award, The Collector of Worlds is a brilliant re-imagining of a richly eventful, truly incredible life.

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From the Back Cover:

A stunning fictionalized account of the infamous life of British colonial officer and translator Sir Richard Francis Burton

This fictionalized account imagines the life of Sir Richard Francis Burton—a nineteenth-century British colonial officer with a rare ability to assimilate into indigenous cultures. Burton's obsessive traveling took him from England to British India, Arabia, and on a quest for the source of the Nile River in Africa. He learned more than twenty lan­guages, translated The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, and took part in the pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition to writing several travel books.

This elegant, layered novel tells the story of Burton's adventures in British West India, his experience on the hajj to Mecca, and his exploration of East Africa. In each section, perspective shifts between Burton and the voices of those men he encounters along the way: his Indian servant tells the stories of his travails with Burton to a scribe; the qadi, the governor, and the shari in Mecca investigate Burton's hajj; and Sidi Mubarak Bombay, his African guide, shares his story with friends in Zanzibar. The concentric narratives examine the underbelly of colonialism while offering a breathtaking tour of the nineteenth century's most stunning landscapes.

The Collector of Worlds won the fiction prize of Germany's Leipzig Book Fair in 2006 and the Berlin Literary Award, in addition to being a runaway bestseller in Germany.

About the Author:

Born in Bulgaria, Iliya Troyanov has lived in Germany, Kenya, India, and South Africa. He has written several novels as well as travelogues on Africa, India, and Bulgaria. His Along the Ganges was included in Condé Nast Traveler's list of the best travelogues ever. Troyanov lives in Vienna, Austria.

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