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Arnold Henry Savage Landor



In an age when sahibs wore khaki jodhpurs and solar topees, Henry Savage Landor was the ultimate stiff-upper-lipped English traveller in tweed. Grandson of the writer Walter Savage Landor, the younger Landor put his fine education to work recording his adventures in dangerous lands.
The amateur explorer’s initial fame arose from an attempt to reach Lhasa, a city whose ruler had forbidden entry to outsiders. A strict believer in the old adage that an English gentleman had the right to get his throat cut wherever he liked, Landor set out to infiltrate Tibet accompanied by two Indian servants. Dressed in his Saville Row tailored exploration costume, the dapper Landor battled gangs of robbers and suffered numerous hardships, before finally being captured and tortured by the Tibetans, who were bent on discouraging other foolhardy amateurs from entering their kingdom.
Back in London, the young explorer quickly wrote his first best-seller, then set off on another adventure. A long list of journeys to a host of troubled regions followed, with Landor writing gung-ho books about his travels in Persia, China, Africa, Korea and South America, to name but a few. P
ainter, explorer, writer, inventor and amateur anthropologist, the much-travelled Landor completed his literary output when he penned his famous autobiography “Everywhere, The Memoirs of an Explorer,” in 1924. He died from complications arising from being struck by a London bus, though not before having enjoyed “adventures enough to fill the lives of twenty men.”

In the Forbidden Land

Henry Savage Landor

ISBN 1590480740







The nineteenth century can rightly claim to have seen the birth and travels of a host of brave men and women who undertook great hardships in their quest for adventure. Legendary names come to mind like Sven Hedin, Sir Richard Burton and Isabella Bird. Yet sadly, one name is largely forgotten today, that is Henry Savage Landor.
Though Savage Landor became justly famous for making a series of trips to many outlandish and dangerous places, none of his trips aroused public sentiment like his famed journey through Tibet in the late 1890s. Fearing her covetous foreign neighbors in British-occupied India and Imperial China, this high Himalayan country had sealed her borders to outsiders. Thereafter a number of Europeans, including several British explorers, had been detected by Tibetan officials and turned back before they could reach the nation’s isolated capital at Lhasa.  With such a geographic prize at stake, Savage Landor determined to set off with a small group of native porters to reach the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, by stealth. To say he failed would be too polite a term for what occurred next.
After making his way across vast and primitive lands, the would-be explorer was detected by the Tibetans and arrested. Once they determined that the Englishman was traveling without the official sponsorship of his government, the situation turned from bad to worse. Savage Landor and his servants were first imprisoned, then brutally tortured. At one point the explorer had his arms tied behind his back. He was then mounted on a half-wild horse, placed in an infamous “torture saddle” that had spikes sticking into his back, and forced to ride many miles, all the while being slowly torn to bits by the cruel spikes.
Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings, this blood-chilling account of equestrian adventure still makes for page-turning excitement.

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