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CuChullaine O’Reilly has spent more than thirty years studying equestrian
travel techniques on every continent. After
having made lengthy trips by horseback across Pakistan, he was made a
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club. Upon
completing Khyber Knights, he founded the Long Riders’ Guild, the
world's first international association of equestrian explorers.
The organization has Members in forty countries, all of whom have made a
qualifying equestrian journey of at least one thousand miles. The Guild
has supported more than a hundred equestrian expeditions on every
continent except Antarctica.
The author is married to the Swiss Long Rider, Basha Cornwall-Legh, who rode her
Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, from Volgograd to London, becoming the only
person in the twentieth century to ride out of Russia.
The O’Reillys are the webmasters of
The Long Riders’ Guild
website. At two-thousand plus pages, and still growing, and having now been
visited by more than a million people world-wide, this website is the repository
of the largest collection of equestrian travel information in human history.
Read the glowing
reviews of Khyber Knights
Few places on Earth were more dangerous in 1983 than
Peshawar, Pakistan. With a savage war being waged a few miles away between the
Soviet Union and the Afghan mujahideen, Peshawar had become the new Casablanca.
When she wasn’t being bombed, her narrow streets hosted a swirling human
cocktail of turbaned freedom fighters, tight-lipped foreign mercenaries, naïve
foreign aid workers, cruel Pathan warlords, and more spies than ever lurked in
Riding through this fiery forge was CuChullaine O’Reilly.
The journalist who turned equestrian explorer was already familiar with Peshawar
and the surrounding lawless portions of Pakistan’s North West Frontier
Province. A convert to Islam, the wandering horseman was unfazed by religious
obstacles, fluent in the patois of the tribesmen, and able to partake of any
local offering from luke warm goat fat to sullied ditch water.
Setting off from Peshawar, O’Reilly began an equestrian
odyssey into a mediaeval portion of the world devoid of mercy and machinery. His
mission was to ride over some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, thread
his way through untamed tribes, and miraculously get back to war-torn Peshawar.
Yet the adventure he sought demanded a high price. His horse died and was eaten
by eager natives. He was kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned in Pakistan’s most
infamous prison, and met murderers, bandits, whores, and princes. Yet despite
these setbacks, O’Reilly never lost hope that he would complete his mounted
exploration of the remote and dangerous heart of Asia.
Lavishly illustrated with dozens of drawings and maps, the
resulting book was compiled from the field notes, maps and diaries the author
brought back from his travels. It includes an in-depth glossary of native words,
and the largest collection of ethnological, historical, political, sexual, and
religious information ever gathered about life in Pakistan’s North West
“Khyber Knights” is thus a rare talisman against a world
grown soft and predictable. Its pages burn with a bawdy portrayal of the darkest
secrets of this cruel and beautiful region. It is a tissue of mishaps and
romantic adventures, poetic passages and natural beauties, set to the echoing of
Told with grit and realism by one of the world’s foremost
equestrian explorers, “Khyber Knights” has been penned the way lives are
lived, not how books are written. It makes every effort to rip the reader’s
nerves to rags with its ruthless devotion to the unvarnished truth about life in
the North West Frontier.
You do not read “Khyber Knights”. You survive it!
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