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"You have written a masterpiece! This is the book that will top all other equestrian travel books." Jeremy James, Founding Member of the Long Riders’ Guild, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and author of Saddletramp.
"As its remarkable author frankly tells us, Khyber Knights is fictional in its framework but based upon hard fact and actual events. And what a tale it is. We can learn from this book, one of the greatest I have ever read. It is a book that one would not want to live without." John Rodenbeck, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, American University, Cairo.
"Khyber Knights is an epic account of one of the most extraordinary adventures ever taken on horseback." Nick Smith, Explorers’ Club Editor and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
"Political analysts will immensely benefit from the author’s first hand experience and incisive study of a complex period in our nation’s history." Dr. Maleelia Lodhi, Ambassador of Pakistan.
"I spent the last two days reading Khyber Knights. I couldn’t put the book down and now that I have read the last sentences I feel orphaned." Arita Baaijens, Dutch explorer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and author of Desert Songs.
"You emerge from the book shaken, albeit the wiser in many aspects of the hardiness of equestrian long distance riding and of human folly in general. Of course Jack London could do it in his time, but CuChullaine O'Reilly has shown us it can still be done in our day." Bjarke Rink, author of The Centaur Legacy.
"Kipling would have loved Khyber Knights." Derek O’Connor, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and author of The King’s Stranger.
"Khyber Knights is a real life thriller. Once you start the adventure you won’t be able to get off." Dr. Amjad Hussain, author of The Taliban and Beyond.
"An important and courageous work of a time and place that has since melted into the past." Alistair Carr, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and author of The Singing Bowl, Journeys through Inner Asia.
About the Author
Explorers’ Web described CuChullaine O'Reilly as “a living legend” and praised his adventure travel book, Khyber Knight, as “magical.”After extensive travels in Afghanistan, CuChullaine converted to Islam, journeyed to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, then made a daring solo equestrian journey across Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.The book describes how Boston University then engaged the author to teach journalism to mujahadeen opposing the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It also reveals the oppressive regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, who had usurped power from Pakistan’s elected government.The newly released hardback second-edition concludes with an extensive examination of how events witnessed by the author led to the emergence of the Taliban, the ill-advised invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan. Amply illustrated, the text is accompanied by maps, documentation, and an extensive glossary.After completing the longest recorded horseback ride in Pakistan's history, as described in the book, CuChullaine specialized in equestrian exploration and historical research. He has documented how meat-eating horses were used in Shackleton’s second attempt to reach the South Pole, how a religious edict issued by the Pope against the Vikings established America’s modern taboo against eating horses and how the political victory of the suffragettes brought about the demise of the sidesaddle.A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club, he has published more than 300 travel books in eight languages and advised more than a hundred equestrian expeditions on every continent except Antarctica.He is now completing work on the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration, the most extensive study of mounted travel ever produced.
I have recently finished reading Khyber Knights. I was born and raised in the Frontier province of Pakistan and I am a woman. I belong to Swabi District and lived in Peshawar where Mr. Asadullah Khan starts his knight�s escapades. In spite of a sheltered life, in 25 years, even a Pathan woman in my circumstances acquires a consciousness of what �Pukhto� means. But Asadullah Khan has shown me in his book that there are still things I need to learn! Obviously, he has lived in close contact with the people of that region and seems to have become a thorough Pathan himself! I made the same journey [by four wheel drive], which Mr. Asadullah Khan describes so enthrallingly from atop his horse. His description of the terrain is very apt but that is only one aspect of his journey and his achievement. Truly, he has a very keen sense of observation, and an unusual awareness and perception of the people and their customs, their strengths and weaknesses and he has described it all with no attempt to make it look better or worse for the purpose of his book. Really, his insight is frighteningly accurate. There is a wealth of information in this book for every single person who cares to call himself or herself a citizen of the NWFP and I recommend every citizen of the NWFP to read this book. He has taken the trouble to record his unbelievable and fantastic experiences and to make history for us. The author goes through the trouble of describing some exceedingly simple actions with so much detail and wonder that it will make you smile. Reading his book sharpened my own sense of awareness. A very delightful aspect of the book is the constant companionship of Pasha, Pahlawan, Pajero and Pukhtoon.Read more ›
I couldn't put the book down and now that I have read the last sentences I feel orphaned. What an amazing account of even more amazing adventures.
Expecially the second part of the book captured me, the words were no longer words,
they were an avalanche, a tidal wave, a hurricane.
I read so fast that I must have missed sentences - I indulged in the raw beauty and horror of what was written. The book is not your usual superficial travelbook, no, it takes you to the heart of the matter. While we travel with CuChullaine on his splendid horse through the wild wild north of Pakistan we search our soul and we ask ourselves what risks we are prepared to take to find fulfilment and to live life to the full.
CuChullaine's love for horses brought tears into my eyes, the loyalty to his friends made me
wonder if it was madness or courage that made him do what he did, the descriptions
of nature gave my heart wings, the craving for freedom and the longing to follow
the wind obliterated the doubts I sometimes have about my nomadic life style.
Khyber Knights is a must read and I must warn you, after you've read the last pages you won't be able to read another book for a while.
Arita Baaijens, Dutch desert explorer and writer
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I'll admit that this book didn't grab me immediately the first time I picked it up. But I sure am glad I kept it on the nightstand for another go! On my second try, I made a running start and successfully made it to what I consider the REAL beginning of the adventure. This is when, after a thwarted first attempt at a horse expedition, the author collapses from a near-fatal illness, is tortured by corrupt cops and sentenced to life in a disease-ridden Pakistani dungeon... And that's only the beginning of this richly written adventure story. The author's ability to describe the tapestry of life in developing Pakistan and its wild frontier country lets the reader smell the sweat-stained bandits, taste the slimy gobs of sheep fat and shiver with cold at the world's highest-altitude polo game. Lets just say I'm glad that the author survived Pakistan to write this book--most people would have died a dozen times along the way! Anyway, I ended up carrying the book all over the house to read it at breakfast, in bed, while drying my hair... Pages 100-600 went by in a flash, as I related each more fabulous (and horrifying) adventure to my husband and friends. Besides the "adventure story," this is also a timely book to read for people wanting more information about Islam and Pakistan/Afghan culture. How better to learn about Pakistani life and the Muslim "world view" than from a man who lived, worked, and worshipped with them and spoke the local language? The author's reporting seems very balanced, with both good and bad characters being represented. Whether you read it simply for the adventure or because of an interest in Pakistani and/or Muslim culture, I highly recommend this book!
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I doff my cap to CuChullaine O'Reilly. His book is quite remarkable. It could have been published at the time when Frederick Burnaby wrote 'A Ride to Kiva' - a tale of high adventure on an unofficial mission to investigate the latest moves on the chess board of the Great Game. But that book was written in 1876, 'Khyber Knights', an account of Cu Chullaine's whirlwind adventures on horseback in Afghanistan, was written over 100 years later. Not for the fainthearted, the book exudes real life drama encompassing, kidnap, torture, imprisonment all punctuated with entrances of a most extraordinary cast of characters.
Our age is tame and soft. CuChullaine not only gives us further insights into his great love of horses, but also shows us there are still parts of the world where life can be truly lived to the full. Pick it up and read, you won't put it down in a hurry.
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CuChullaine O'Reilly is an investigative reporter who has spent more than thirty years studying equestrian travel techniques on every continent. After having made lengthy trips by horseback across Pakistan, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers' Club. O'Reilly is also the author of Khyber Knights. This equestrian travel tale has been described as a "masterpiece" and the author as "Jack London in our time". O'Reilly founded the Long Riders' Guild, the world's first inter-national association of equestrian explorers. The organization has Members in forty-two countries, all of whom have made a qualifying equestrian journey of at least one thousand miles. The Guild has supported more than a hundred equestrian expeditions on every continent except Antarctica. The author is married to the Swiss Long Rider, Basha Cornwall-Legh, who rode her Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, from Volgograd to London, becoming the only person in the twentieth century to ride out of Russia. The O'Reillys are the webmasters of The Long Riders' Guild website. At three-thousand plus pages, and still growing, and having now been visited by more than three million people world-wide, this website is the repository of the largest collection of equestrian travel information in human history. After ten years of unparalleled intellectual growth, The Long Riders' Guild became a movement for change in the wider equestrian world when the O'Reillys launched The Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. The world's first open-source academic equine website is devoted to the study of all hippological arts and sciences and provides a forum, free of commercial influence, wherein equine-related articles are provided at no cost to scholars, students and equine enthusiasts. Every type of horse-related know¬ledge is being investigated and published at this exciting website, whose motto is "Science not Superstition." Deadly Equines is the first title in a new series of equestrian investigations undertaken by the author.