Sri Lanka is a small island with a long, savage and enthralling history. Home to thousands of wild elephants, this is a place where natural beauty and majesty have endured, indifferent to the pain of its people. Journeying for a year through its many regions - some loved by tourists, some haunted by war, many rarely seen by our eyes - award-winning travel writer John Gimlette intersperses tales from its past with the encounters he has en-route: meeting the elephant herders of its many reserves, the Vedda tribespeople of the wild east, and the Sinhalese and Tamil enemies. He raises the ghosts of old Portuguese colonies, speaks to survivors of the tsunami and treads through the thorny battlegrounds of a civil war that has shaped Sri Lanka anew.
John Gimlette crossed the Soviet Union in the eighties, worked in the Falklands on the eve of war and has travelled to over sixty countries. He has published four previous books on travel: At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig (chosen as Book of the Year by the Sunday Telegraph and New York Times), Theatre of Fish, Panther Soup and Wild Coast (winner of the Dolman Prize) which have all featured on Radio 4. When he isn't travelling, he works as a barrister in London and lives with his wife and their daughter.