For many years war made Sierra Leone and Liberia too dangerous for outsiders to travel through. Facing down demons from his time in Africa as a journalist, Tim Butcher heads deep into this combat zone, encountering the devastation wrought by lawless militia, child soldiers, brutal violence, blood diamonds and masked figures who guard the spiritual secrets of remote jungle communities.
On an epic journey that demands courage, doggedness and sheer luck, Butcher treks for 350 blistering miles through rainforest and malarial swamps to gain an extraordinary ground-level view of an overlooked region on the cusp of a remarkable recovery.
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Engaging...descriptions of walking through the bush, of sweltering heat, sweat and swelling blisters are juxtaposed against moments of beauty...a test of endurance - Sunday Telegraph
A brave book by a writer of skill and principle... He exposes the toxic cocktail of colonial exploitation, tribal conflict, ritual violence and blood diamonds that spits out regional monsrosities such as Charles Taylor... an admirable book - Sunday Times
Tim Butcher has a respect and affection for West Africa that is genuine and touching, writing in a way that brings out the exuberance and wit of its people. This book is required reading for anyone even vaguely interested in this remote and enigmatic region - Daily Mail
Butcher's book is packed with incident... fascinating, harrowing and eventful - Independent
An inspirational account of humanity's wonderful spirit to survive -
This an engaging, well-written book. Anyone who enjoyed Blood River will enjoy this. The narrative skilfully interweaves Greene's experiences with that of the author and the history and the anthropology of the territory through which he is passing - Daily Telegraph
The unflinching descriptions of the horrors of the recent wars in both countries are hard to shake from the mind. - Financial Times, Christmas round up
A clear-sighted view of the recent atrocities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. - Independent, Christmas round up
A multi-layered and thought-provoking account of the attractions of danger and his encounters with the devastation of ritual violence, child soldiers, blood diamonds and the 'devil' guarding remote jungle communities - Guardian
Butcher's travelogue is a mix of nervous adventuring through a landscape littered with shell casings, and historical assessment peppered with Greeniana. Sobering and illuminating - Financial Times
A brave and wholly engaging narrative. - National Geographic Traveller
Born in 1967, Tim Butcher was on the staff of the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009 serving as chief war correspondent, Africa bureau chief and Middle East correspondent. His first book, Blood River, was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He is currently based in Cape Town with his family.