In the Forbidden Land: (Equestrian Travel Classic Series)by Henry Savage Landor
The nineteenth century can rightly claim to have seen the birth and travels of a host of brave men and women who undertook great hardships in their quest for adventure. Legendary names come to mind like Sven Hedin, Sir Richard Burton and Isabella Bird. Yet sadly, one name is largely forgotten today, that is Henry Savage Landor. Though Savage Landor became justly famous for making a series of trips to many outlandish and dangerous places, none of his trips aroused public sentiment like his famed journey through Tibet in the late 1890s. Fearing her covetous foreign neighbors in British-occupied India and Imperial China, this high Himalayan country had sealed her borders to outsiders. Thereafter a number of Europeans, including several British explorers, had been detected by Tibetan officials and turned back before they could reach the nation’s isolated capital at Lhasa. With such a geographic prize at stake, Savage Landor determined to set off with a small group of native porters to reach the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, by stealth. To say he failed would be too polite a term for what occurred next. After making his way across vast and primitive lands, the would-be explorer was detected by the Tibetans and arrested. Once they determined that the Englishman was traveling without the official sponsorship of his government, the situation turned from bad to worse. Savage Landor and his servants were first imprisoned, then brutally tortured. At one point the explorer had his arms tied behind his back. He was then mounted on a half-wild horse, placed in an infamous “torture saddle” that had spikes sticking into his back, and forced to ride many miles, all the while being slowly torn to bits by the cruel spikes. Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings, this blood-chilling account of equestrian adventure still makes for page-turning excitement.
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