Mathew Lyons: author

Impossible Journeys
From the publisher: ‘Impossible Journeys reveals an age when the known world was small, and the seemingly empty oceans surrounding it inspired conjecture and fantasy. In this riveting compendium, Mathew Lyons selects the most remarkable true stories of intrepid journeys – at a time when maps were non existant, incomplete or simply wrong – and the tenacity, bravery and occasional mad brilliance of the travellers who undertook them.

‘Within these pages, the search for sunken islands and for cities of gold wrestles with shipwrecks and survival despite all odds. Merchants and mapmakers, stilt-walkers, seadogs, friars, lovers, fools, cannibals and kings all have their place. Instances of heroism, courage and tragedy unfold. There is vanity and greed. There are drunken visions, absurdly named places, and quests for an Earthly Paradise. And above all, a belief that these journeys and discoveries are possible.

‘The world, as you know it, may never seem quite the same again…’

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Praise for Impossible Journeys
Obviously a labour of love by its author… There are many human dramas, the most cataclysmic being Walter Ralegh’s pursuit of El Dorado… Lyons’s account is truly heartbreaking…’
Wendy Holden, New Statesman

Each story is told exquisitely and comes backed with exhaustive research.’
Sunday Times Travel magazine

Full of the bizarre, but no less literary for that.
Piers Moore Ede, Times Literary Supplement

‘Mathew Lyons has had the cracking idea of gathering together, in the form of Chaucerian tales, an anthology of remarkable true stories of intrepid adventurers. He flings his net confidently and wide… Lyons’s selection is deliberately personal and the fresher for it…’
Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph

… Lyons’s lucid and subtle prose. The book as a whole has a kind of understated magic: a non-fiction companion to the tall tales of Italo Calvino’s Marco Polo.’
The Guardian

‘Great wit and wisdom, and an undercurrent of learning that makes the whole project very attractive indeed.’
Independent on Sunday