In Xanadu is, without doubt, one of the best travel books produced in the last 20 years. It is witty and intelligent, brilliantly observed, deftly constructed and extremely entertaining. Dalrymple s gift for transforming ordinary humdrum experience into something extraordinary and timeless suggests that he will go from strength to strength. The book leavens adventure story and scholarly history with farcical dialogue with high-spirited buffoonery. It is a fast, furious read, clearly the stuff bestsellers are made of.