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Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates - Lady Anne Blunt, Wilfred Scawen Blunt

1879 - John Murray, London - First Edition
‘Fortunately we are too old travellers to be easily impressed by tales of lions and robbers, even supported, as they were in this instance, by the authority of special correspondents of The Times.’

A beautifully bound two volume set of Lady Blunt’s intrepid excursion to the Euphrates, Nejd and the Nafud desert. Based primarily on her journals and letters, and edited by her husband, this is a testament to the beauty and culture found in the heart of Central Arabia, accompanied with thirteen illustrations which include maps, equestrian diagrams, traditional Beduin ballads, and the author’s own sketches.

‘To find out how the bedouin lived, Lady Anne lived like one herself: she became a temporary nomad, riding the two thousand miles from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf for the most part in Arab dress, and without guides or the usual caravan. This was quite an innovation, and prompted Blunt to dub his wife ‘the first bona-fide tourist who has taken the Euphrates road'. - Jane Robinson,
Wayward Women. 
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Price HK$ 7,500



Through the Heart of Asia. Over The Pamïr to India - Gabriel Bonvalot, Albert Pépin (illustrator)

1889 - Chapman and Hall, London - First Edition in English
Two volumes of the first English translation of this ‘richly illustrated account of the second of the two Asian expeditions in which French explorer, author and legislator Gabriel Bonvalot (1853–1933) and the scientist Guillaume Capus attempted to enter Afghanistan’. Containing 250 full page and in-text drawings by Albert Pépin, and a folding coloured map to rear.

‘Although the party was detained and sent back to Samarkand upon entering Afghanistan, they refused to concede defeat, as Bonvalot was determined to reach India via a trail believed to run across the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains.

In Volume 1, Bonvalot describes the journey from Marseilles via Tehran to Samarkand, interspersing his narrative with observations of the climate and culture they encounter. At the Afghan border, guards warn that '
they will hack us to pieces and throw our bodies into the stream'.

In Volume 2 the party reaches the remote Kingdom of Chatral, but is imprisoned again. Bonvalot uses the confinement to study the customs of the local people, and eventually, with the help of the British authorities, they are released and allowed to continue to India.’ (description from
Cambridge University Press) 
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Price HK$ 7,000



Heth and Moab Explorations in Syria in 1881 and 1882 - Claude Reignier Conder

1883 - Richard Bentley & Son, London - First Edition
A bright copy in original cloth of Captain Conder’s substantial record of his explorations in Syria between 1881 and 1882, published for the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Conder began his expedition in North Syria, before travelling to Kadesh and Jordan, and his work includes chapters on Mount Gilead, Ammon, and the Belka Arabs, as well as Syrian superstitions and Arab folk lore, together with a detailed appendix. Illustrated with four full page engraved plates, and a sketch map of Syria.
 
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Price HK$ 1,500



Travels in Arabia Deserta - Charles M Doughty

1923 - Jonathan Cape and The Medici Society, London - Third Edition, First in this Format.
A near fine unopened, uncut set of this ‘unrivalled encyclopaedia of knowledge about all aspects of nineteenth-century and earlier Arabia.’ (Oxford DNB). Profusely illustrated throughout with plates (many folding), sketches and diagrams, together with large folding colour map ‘A Sketch Map of Itinerarium of part of North Western Arabia and Negd’ in pocket at rear of volume 1.

‘I have talked the book over with many travellers, and we are agreed that here you have all the desert, its hills and plains, the lava fields, the villages, the tents, the men and animals. They are told of the life, with words and phrases fitted to them so perfectly that one cannot dissociate them in memory. It is the true Arabia, the land with its smells and dirt, as well as its nobility and freedom. There is no sentiment, nothing merely picturesque, that most common failing of oriental travel-books. Doughty's completeness is devastating. There is nothing we would take away, little we could add. He took all Arabia for his province, and has left to his successors only the poor part of specialists. We may write books on parts of the desert or some of the history of it; but there can never be another picture of the whole, in our time, because here it is all said.’ - T. E. Lawrence
 
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Price HK$ 1,800



The Military Operations at Cabul - Lieut. Vincent Eyre

1843 - John Murray, London - Fifth Edition
A substantial part of Eyre’s narratives where written whilst actually imprisoned by the Afghans. Eyre, seriously wounded, and his family were captured by Akbar Khan and held for nine months until rescued by General Pollock’s forces. Some of the manuscript was smuggled out of his cell while he remained a captive and on its arrival in England it was published. At the time, Eyre’s account and that recounting similar experiences by Lady Florentia Sale were considered companion pieces that would enable the British public to understand the Afghan debacle, the disaster that had there befallen the army under Elphinstone and the resulting annihilation of the army in the Afghan passes as it struggled to retreat into India. Eyre provides a detailed and moving description of the misfortunes of the British forces and the indiscriminate slaughter of their retreating column by their enemies, as well as a unique account of the harrowing conditions and distressing treatment that were inflicted on the British hostages by their Afghan captors.

Illustrated with folding lithographed ‘ Plan of the Cantonment and Surrounding Country’ of Cabul. The edition, published the same year as the first, includes corrections and additions by Edward Eyre not found in earlier issues, including an Appendix with copies of various previously unpublished dispatches.

From the library of Colonel Reynolds (1863-1931), the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, a regiment that over time has been amalgamated into the Royal Irish Regiment, and who, despite the disastrous military campaign of 1841-2, were deployed to Afghanistan 150 years later, serving with distinction.
 
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Price HK$ 1,800



Chow-Chow. Being Selections from a Journal kept in India, Egypt, and Syria. - Viscountess Falkland

1857 - Hurst and Blackett, London - Second Edition, Revised
‘The word Chow-Chow means ‘Odds and Ends’ and in offering my Chow-Chow basket to the public, I venture to hope that something, however trifling, may be found in it, suited to the taste of everyone.’

A lovely two volume set of Viscountess Falkland’s account of her travels through India and the Middle-East during the 19th century. With two colour lithographic frontispieces.

The writings of Lady Falkland, daughter of William IV and wife to Lord Falkland, then Governor of Bombay, include fascinating insights into these regions as they were undergoing periods of tremendous change and political upheaval. Her eagerness to preserve as much as she could of traditional aspects of Indian and Middle-Eastern cultures provides a refreshing perspective, somewhat unusual for this time and genre.
 
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Price HK$ 4,000



With The Afghans - Claud Field

1908 - Marshall Brothers, London - First Edition
A near fine first edition of this history of the Afghans, their racial origins, customs, religion, literature together with a history of Christian missionary work inside the country. Includes a chapter entitled Persian Influences on the Afghans: Sufism, which the author singles out as the only cultural influence of Iran on the Afghans.

Claud Field was a Christian missionary, first appointed to Peshawar in 1892.

Illustrated with frontispiece, a map, and fifteen photographic plates.
 
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Price HK$ 1,200



Flashman and the Mountain of Light - From the Flashman Papers 1845-46 - SIGNED - George MacDonald Fraser

1990 - Collins Harvill, London - First Edition
The ninth packet of the Flashman papers, spanning 1845-46, with the mighty Sikh Khalsa, the finest army ever seen in Asia, poised to invade India and sweep Britannia’s ill-guarded empire into the sea, every able-bodied man was needed to defend the frontier – and one at least had his answer ready when the Call of Duty came: ‘I’ll swim in blood first!’

Alas, though, for poor Flashman, there was no avoiding the terrors of secret service in the debauched and intrigue-ridden Court of the Punjab, the attentions of its beautiful nymphomaniac Maharani (not that he minded that, really), the horrors of its torture chambers or the baleful influence of the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, the Mountain of Light.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



 
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