The Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah

One of Tim's books 

Published in hardback in 2005 and in paperback in 2006

In this new chapter of his epic journey, Tim is led through the memories of a man who died ten lifetimes ago. He reveals an India far off the beaten path of Taj and Raj, where a dead Muslim poses as a Hindu deity, Jesus pops up in the pulpit of a mosque, and the rotten tooth of a mad sultan is revered as a saint. India was the jewel in Ibn Battutah's turban: nearly 700 years on, it sparkles again in this book.

'A curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes. But above all, [Tim] engages with ideas, and his aim is that of the novelist to send a bucket down into the subconscious' Guardian

'Funny, cultured, humane and highly idiosyncratic' Literary Review

'Another triumph: travel writing of the very highest order' Spectator

'An engaging homage to one of travel writing's founding fathers', London Review of Books

'Few writers have the talent to pull off a notable trilogy in any genre ... Mackintosh-Smith's is not in doubt ... Rich and fascinating', Sunday Times

'A book that travels in time as well as in space . . . Intersperses dizzying glimpses of 14th-century Islamic court life with [the author's] own comic attempts to navigate modern-day India', Daily Mail.

'An engaging homage to one of travel writing's founding fathers', London Review of Books

'You see India from the 14th century perspective of Ibn Battutah's adventures overlaid with an account of an emerging 21st-century superpower. Brilliant juxtaposition. The parallels between the two ages are often quite stark'. Ziauddin Sardar

'Mackintosh-Smith, who combines literary talent with sheer delight in the exegesis of classical Arabic texts to make himself one of the best historical travel writers of his generation, shows us that seven centuries ago is not nearly so distant a time as we might assume. As he travels with “IB” (as he refers to Ibn Battuta), Mackintosh-Smith dances deftly between past and present with humor and insight that make the book a journey of discovery.'.Saudi Aramco World