Though Syria has begun to open itself up to the foreign traveller, for many of us it remains a sinister and forbidding destination. Syria's monumentally unwelcoming state apparatus - and its fraught politics - could defeat even the most determined adventurer. As the idlest and most easy-going of explorers, Robert Tewdwr Moss side-steps danger to luxuriate in Turkish baths and muse on the ironies of life and love. His Syria is also a place of contrasts: from concrete esplanades swept by hot dusty winds and all-seeing electronic eyes, with images of President Assad lined up side by side in surreal massed ranks, to deserted back streets where mud-brick houses collapse into themselves like melted chocolate. He visits the legendary city of Palmyra and stumbles upon a shred of 2000-year-old mummy. After helping to rescue the relics from an ossuary of Armenian massacre-victims, he leaves a bagful of bones on a bus. He is publicly denounced by a paranoid alcoholic London writer and stoned by Saddam-sympathizing youths in Syria's restive eastern provinces. He follows in the footsteps of a 19th-century English lady traveller, and falls hopelessly in love with a Palestinian ex-commando.
Robert Tewdwr Moss's Syria is a dour, disturbing land - a place which attracts the oddest characters and where the oddest things happen.
Robert Tewdwr Moss was until his untimely death in August 1996, a journalist of astonishing versatility. He made his mark as Diary Editor of the books section of The Sunday Times. He contributed to magazines as varied as The Tatler, Woman's Journal, Harpers and Queen and Africa Events. IIe completed this book on the day that he died.