The Collector of Worlds, by Iliya Troyanov

This novel is about Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (19 March 1821 – 20 October 1890), who was an explorer, littérateur and professional maverick.

The Collector of Worlds, by Iliya Troyanov
The Collector of Worlds, by Iliya Troyanov (Ecco, reprint edition January 19, 2010, originally published 2008)

This novel is about Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (19 March 1821 – 20 October 1890), who was an explorer, littérateur and professional maverick who had the ability to change his character and appearance as slickly as a chameleon on a painter’s palette. In the late 19th century, there were still undiscovered realms in the British Empire, and Sir Richard had a yen to find the source of the Nile. En route, he inveigled himself into the cultures of the countries in which he lived, even making the hajj pilgrimage, indistinguishable from a devout Muslim Arab.

In this book, Troyanov has created more than a novelized history of the famous Englishman’s life. He recreates the exotic worlds – Eastern and Western – in which Sir Richard lived, immersing the reader as completely and convincingly as Sir Richard had been, when he had absorbed his identity into these foreign cultures.

Multi-award winning Troyanov won the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in the category of fiction for The Collector of Worlds – originally published in German as Der Weltensammler.)

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