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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2021

A dramatic and ambitious new journey for our greatest travel writer

The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the 10th longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific. For 1,100 miles, it forms the tense border between Russia and China. Haunted by the memory of land-grabs and unequal treaties, this is the most densely fortified frontier on Earth.

In his 80th year, Colin Thubron takes a dramatic journey from the Amur's secret source to its giant mouth, covering almost 3,000 miles. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he makes his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores, starting out by Mongolian horse, then hitchhiking, sailing on poacher's sloops or travelling the Trans-Siberian Express. Having revived his Russian and Mandarin, he talks to everyone he meets, from Chinese traders to Russian fishermen, from monks to indigenous peoples. By the time he reaches the river's desolate end, where Russia's 19th-century imperial dream petered out, a whole pivotal world has come alive.

The Amur River is a shining masterpiece by the acknowledged laureate of travel writing, an urgent lesson in history and the culmination of an astonishing career.

©2021 Colin Thubron (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, but use google earth to follow along

An amazing travel book. Following along using Google Earth on my pc while listening really enhanced my enjoyment of the book. Jonathon Keeble (the reader) has done a lot of audiobooks I think, in any case I found his voice a bit too familiar, but within minutes I was lost in the magic of the book, and Mr Keeble's reading is extremely good.