From Tibet to Pakistan,a mesmerising history of the Indus River's civilizations, emperors and explorers.
One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains, flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. For millennia it has been worshipped as a god; for centuries used as a tool of imperial expansion; today it is the cement of Pakistans fractious union.
Five thousand years ago, a string of sophisticated cities grew and traded on its banks. In the ruins of these elaborate metropolises, Sanskrit-speaking nomads explored the river, extolling its virtues in Indias most ancient text, the Rig-Veda. During the past two thousand years a series of invaders Alexander the Great, Afghan Sultans, the British Raj made conquering the Indus valley their quixotic mission. For the people of the river, meanwhile, the Indus valley became a nodal point on the Silk Road, a centre of Sufi pilgrimage and the birthplace of Sikhism.
Empires of the Indus follows the river upstream and back in time, taking the reader on a voyage through two thousand miles of geography and more than five millennia of history redolent with contemporary importance.
Impressive and original ...In the course of her journey, Albinia encounters all kinds of danger, and at times her courage tips her into foolhardiness ... This however, is the behaviour we expect of the best kind of travel writer. - Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph
Empires of the Indus is a magnificent book, a triumphant melding of travel and history into a compelling story of adventure and discovery ... an inspiring book, and readers with even a fraction of Albinia's wanderlust will want to set off on their own explorations. - Paddy Docherty, Financial Times
Such an accomplished first book - The Sunday Times
In an engaging blend of travel writing and history, journalist Albinia charts the course of the longest river in the Indian subcontinent. - Financial Times
Its originality, enthusiasm and understanding add up to a memorable, illuminating read. - Scotsman
Imaginatively structured - Scotland on Sunday
As the first book of a young writer, it's an impressive achievement - New Statesman
The truly great achievement of this book is to reveal, unflinchingly and with panache, the rich and varied heritage of the Indus in all its appalling spleandour - Guardian