In 1177, Pope Alexander III - keen to secure a Christian ally from the other side of the Dar al-Islam whose reputed wealth would prove invaluable to the Crusades - wrote a letter to the elusive King of the Indies, otherwise known as Prester John. The person the Pope personally selected to deliver this letter into the hand of Prester John was a physician called Master Philip. He was never heard of again... ight hundred and twenty-four years later, armed with a copy of Pope Alexander's letter and with a redoubtable travelling companion from his university days, Nick Jubber set out from Venice with the express intention of somewhat belatedly completing Master Philip's mission. Over the next four months he would travel by bus, train, tractor and horse-drawn cart around the Eastern Mediterranean, through the Middle East and North Africa before homing in on Ethiopia and the closely-guarded tomb of a medieval king who legend links with the mythical, mystical figure of Prester John. rom insights into medieval history and mysticism, through observations on politics and religious tensions, to accounts of eccentric customs (ranging from the different names for the Middle Eastern water
Nicholas Jubber was educated at Downside School and Oxford University. His travels have taken him through South America, Africa, the Middle East and many parts of Asia, and he has written for the Tablet, Boston's Globe and Mail and the Lebanese Daily Star. The Prester Quest is his first book.