Adventure in the Vastness of Africa and
by Sam Manicom
Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
Publisher: Sam Manicom UK, 2008
368 pages, Color Photos and B&W Illustrations
wBW Book Review by Lori B.
Sam Manicom quotes Paul Theroux on the back cover of this book: "…take the leap. Go as far as you can. Try staying out of touch. Become a stranger in a strange land…"
And boy, did he ever leap as far as he could, where no one could reach him…even if they wanted to.
Distant Suns is Sam Manicom’s third book chronicling his eight year 200,000 mile journey around the world. His first two books -- Into Africa and Under Asian Skies (review) -- covered his first four years of travel.
Distant Suns takes you with him on his three year adventure exploring Southern Africa and South America. On this trip he is accompanied by his partner Brigit, and Distant Suns is based on her diary.
The forward promises that Distant Suns will "spit you out as a convert to the dream of over-landing by motorcycle." I disagree. To categorize this book as “an adventure motorcycle travel book” limits the book’s potential appeal to a broader audience.
Distant Suns will appeal to the non-rider as well. It proves to be a universally enjoyable way to sample a buffet loaded up with history, geography, human drama, danger and human relationships with the added bonus of cycles for aficionados.
The author’s journey started in 1996 -- before cell phones and satellite navigation became affordable and portable for the masses. In 1996 it was all about maps and telephone exchanges.
Add to that the fact that when he started on his journey, the author had only been riding a motorcycle for three months. The Author refers to himself as “… a pretty ordinary bloke…” when he started out on his adventure, but I beg to differ -- this is no ordinary man and no ordinary journey!
While the vivid photos included in the book visually illustrate the exotic locales, it is the author’s words that really bring the trip to life for the reader.
Whether it is bringing to life the beauty of the landscape, the people they meet, the endless dicey border crossings, how they get to where they are going and where they stay when they get there-it is all told in Sam’s richly descriptive style.
This is a great story which reads with the ease of a novel. Distant Suns has it all: love, good guys, bad guys, beauty, danger, history, geography and last but not least-bikes! Distant Suns is a fast, easy and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Review Date: Jaunary 2009.
wBW Book Review "Flaming Helmet" Rating:
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