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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9780099532064
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $24.99

Chasing the Devil

The Search for Africa's Fighting Spirit

The bestselling author of Blood River is back with a second thrilling adventure, illuminating the war-torn, complex and forbidding region of Sierra Leone and Liberia

For many years Sierra Leone and Liberia were too dangerous for outsiders to travel through. Now, with their wars officially over, this fraught area has reached a unique moment in its history. Facing down demons from his time as a journalist in Africa, Tim Butcher heads into these previously impenetrable lands, encountering stories of rebel armies, child soldiers, brutal violence, blood diamonds, and masked figures who still guard the spiritual secrets of their jungle communities. In an epic journey that demands courage, doggedness and sheer luck, Tim journeys through 350 miles of remote rainforest and malarial swamps, walking every blistering inch to gain an extraordinary ground-level view of a troubled and overlooked region.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9780099532064
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Tim Butcher

Tim Butcher is a best-selling author who blends travel with history. His first book, Blood River, was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, while his next, Chasing the Devil, was longlisted for the George Orwell Prize. A journalist with the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009, in 2010 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Northampton for services to writing. Born in Great Britain, he is based in Cape Town with his family.

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Praise for Chasing the Devil

“Butcher's book is packed with incident... fascinating, harrowing and eventful”

Joan Smith, Independent

“Butcher writes with candour and humour”

Sam Kiley, Scotsman

“Tim Butcher would probably admit that he was born into the wrong era. He is really a Victorian explorer endowed with the sterling grit of that age, which has carried him across the Congo and now through West Africa's jungle heartland... Butcher writes with candour and humour.”

Sam Kiley, Evening Standard

“A brave book by a writer of skill and principle... he exposes the toxic cocktail of colonial exploitation, tribal conflict, ritual violence and blood diamonds that spits out regional monsrosities such as Charles Taylor... an admirable book.”

Brian Schofield, Sunday Times

“Greene himself would have admired Butcher's daring ... this is a very fine ... travel book ... his practical homage reminds us just how great, perceptive, and still relevant Greene is”

John Sutherland, Financial Times

“This is a very fine, very depressing, travel book”

John Sutherland, Financial Times

“This an engaging, well-written book. Anyone who enjoyed Blood River will enjoy this. The narrative skilfully interweaves Greene's experiences with that of the author and the history and the anthropology of the territory through which he is passing”

Chris Mullin, Daily Telegraph

“A former foreign correspondent with an explorer's heart ... Tim Butcher has a respect and affection for West Africa that is genuine and touching ... He brings out the exuberance of wit of its people, tries to empathise with their suffering and understand their demons - temporal and spiritual.”

Neil Derbyshire, Daily Mail

“The unflinching descriptions of the horrors of the recent wars in both countries are hard to shake from the mind.”

Financial Times, Christmas round up

“A clear-sighted view of the recent atrocities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

Hugh Thomson, Independent, Christmas round up

“A multi-layered and thought-provoking account of the attractions of danger and his encounters with the devastation of ritual violence, child soldiers, blood diamonds and the "devil" guarding remote jungle communities”

Aimee Shalan, Guardian

“Butcher's research, combined with the inescapable fact that not a lot is widely known in the west about the place, makes for a fairly entertaining read as the author, his companion and two guides stay faithful to Greene's trek, hacking and plodding along this 350-mile path. This is a well-written account of an unusual adventure, even if the "killing fields" seem a long way away”

Julian Fleming, Sunday Business Post

“Butcher's travelogue is a mix of nervous adventuring through a landscape littered with shell casings, and historical assessment peppered with Greeniana. Sobering and illuminating”

James Urquhart, Financial Times

“A brave and wholly engaging narrative.”

National Geographic Traveller

“'Chasing the Devil is an adventure story, complete with swinging rope bridges, murderous chimpanzees, deathly diseases, heart-eating cannibals and the shadowy omnipotence of the "village devil" '”

Times Literary Supplement

“Engaging...descriptions of walking through the bush, of sweltering heat, sweat and swelling blisters are juxtaposed against moments of beauty...a test of endurance”

Aminatta Forna, Sunday Telegraph

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