This book presents a dazzling mosaic, by turn tragic and comic, as complete a portrait of that vast and elusive land as any writer has ever attempted.
Paul William Robert's journeys through India span twenty years, and carry the reader across the subcontinent to crumbling palaces where maharajas live much as they did five centuries ago; to ashrams, temples, and caves where the holy men are as terrifying as they are tender; to remote villages reached by tortuous journeys on ramshackle buses; and to a millionaire drug dealer's heavily guarded fortress on India's border with China.
The decadence of a hippie settlement trapped in the paradise of Goa is juxtaposed with the brutal history of the Portuguese Inquisition. A safari by camel through the Thar Desert becomes a trip though the history of a forgotten people.
This work is unparalleled in the richness of its historical, religious, and cultural perceptions, describing journeys that are both physical and deeply spiritual.
One of the most remarkable travel books ever written - but of course it is far more than that. It's brilliant, funny, moving, and often profound. Robert writes like an angel. Empire of the Soul is the most living book about India I have ever read. - - Colin Wilson
Empire of the Soul, vivid and soul stirring, is worth ten of V S Naipaul's books on the same subject. - - Toronto Sun
Often hilarious . . tawdry, fantastic, erotic and truly rare.. - - Toronto Star