Christopher Aslan Alexander
Chris Alexander originally travelled to Khiva, a remote walled city in Uzbekistan on the route of the ancient Silk Road, to write a guidebook. But he stayed, mesmerised by a world of silk and forgotten 15th-century carpet design - discovering indigo blue, madder red, pomegranate gold and the subtle shades of life in a desert oasis.
Alexander's entrancing travelogue sees him stripped naked at a former Soviet youth camp, crawling through silkworm droppings, tackling a carpet-thieving mayor, distinguishing natural dyes from sacks of opium in northern Afghanistan, holed up in the British Museum discovering carpet designs dormant for half a millennium and seeking sanctuary as an anti-Western riot consumed the Kabul carpet bazaar.
The result is an unforgettable true story of a journey to the heart of the unknown.