by Colin Thubron
A dramatic and ambitious new journey for our greatest travel writer
The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific to form the tense, highly fortified border between Russia and China.
In his eightieth year, Colin Thubron takes a dramatic 3,000-mile long journey from the Amur's secret source to its giant mouth. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he makes his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores on horseback, on foot, by boat and via the Trans-Siberian Railway, talking to everyone he meets. By the time he reaches the river's desolate end, where Russia's nineteenth-century imperial dream petered out, a whole, pivotal world has come alive.
by The Raven Brothers
Ever had the desire to jump in your car and keep driving?
Well, that is precisely what The Raven Brothers decided to do whilst stacking boxes of frozen oven chips in a -30 degrees freezer. With a squeaky foot pump and an SAS survival guide, the travel writing duo fired up their rusty Ford Sierra and headed east. After clocking up over 12,000 kilometres, quite literally living in the car, they miraculously arrived in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan.
What the brothers had in fact done was to drive Russia’s new Trans-Siberian Highway, a staggering eight years before the road was completed. With only very limited skills of wilderness survival and, virtually zero knowledge of the internal combustion engine, Simon and Chris skip over ten time zones in the beat up petrol engine saloon they used for work. Driving through endless rivers and canyons in a bid to cross the notorious Zilov Gap in darkest Siberia, the trusty heroes capture the true spirit of overland travel during a life-altering journey into one of the world’s last frontiers. Along the way they rub shoulders with Chechen criminals, escape highway robbery, trade banana flavoured condoms with Russian cops, meet an eccentric cast of characters at truck stops in darkest Siberia, endure torturous road conditions and enter into a race to the finish with the Germans.
Surviving the journey by the skin of their teeth, the brothers are forced to confront their worst fears in a toe-curling comedy of extreme road trip adventure. Priding themselves on going it alone, The Raven Brothers have been noted by Lonely Planet for their talent to portray an “accurate view of what to expect”.