Rumbos Home

AboutWhat's NewSearchContact

What's New


What's New




Trail of Feathers
In Search of the Birdmen of Peru
by Tahir Shah

Tahir Shah was born into Afghan nobility in 1966 and grew up in England. He has worked for the Institute of Cultural Research and with the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge and has written widely on the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and South America. When not traveling, he lives in London.

Trail of Feathers
"Trail of Feathers" is the very personal tale of the adventure of a young a man that traveled to Peru with something specific in mind. There, he encountered several interesting and singular men, or to be clearer, they encountered him. This tale also reveals the image of a country that a tourist might never have the chance to experience in a seven days/six nights guided tour.

Tahir Shah cleverly narrates occurrences in the Coast, the Andes and Amazon of which many Peruvians may be  unaware. He also reproduces the conversations he had with the locals, using key sentences in Spanish to enhance ideas, when the characters explain what seems inexplicable. The story might be real or fiction, but this is not relevant to its importance.

Peru today, a pale reflection of its Incan and pre-Incan past, is shrouded with veils of poverty, sand and the plastic of modernization and progress. Spanish chronicles described green coastal valleys and orchards irrigated by complex systems fed by distant Andean glaciers. Today, the coast is a desert. By comparison, a tourist gets a glimpse of what is left to be seen, the tip of an ancient unearthed necropolis or something monumental, such as Machu Picchu. Peru is a country of contrasts and extremes; it also is a country full of surprises.

Using a detailed narration, Tahir Shah unravels an amazing story about the obsession of a man on his sojourn in a fantastically weird country. Time in Peru is essential, but the concept of time and distance belongs to an unfamiliar measure.

Smoothly navigating through distant cultures and diverse geography, Shah takes pride in the unique perspective of a seasoned, 21st century traveler and storyteller. He has the time to describe with similar dedication well-known places, often using magic words to link a local experience to an incredible story in ancient China or the Middle East. He knows that the combination of imagination, knowledge and an eye for detail is explosive. Texture and color fly: the truck is melon, the lake is iridescent, a light bulb is of a fundamental nature to business. In the Amazon, his ears become vigilant to "the noise of little wings flying". Wisely balancing sophisticated culture and the humbleness of a non-westerner, Shah crowns all these virtues with the kind of humor that makes the reader laugh in a mischievous, albeit nervous, fashion.

Admirably, Shah makes the decision to travel to the Amazon rain forest in the company of his uncertainties, fears and a peculiar crew. Then, he finally takes the course of a small river north of the Maraņon River, in search of the answers to his dreams.

Throughout his adventure, the writer suffers through a number of difficulties and gets caught up in odd and potentially dangerous situations, yet emerges untouched, as if he were protected by the Apus (mountain gods). The book transcends the theme of protecting nature or preserving native cultures. Rather, this book reveals the generosity of not being judgmental in the encounter with peoples of other cultures and respecting their values, no matter what the differences. Shah is Candide, he is Peter Pan, he is the condor that flies to leave the illusion of this world. He has become a man as brave as an ancient warrior

Lola Salas
Rumbosonline, New York

 Available at



Visit Peruvian artist website at


New destinations in Europe with  guided tours in Spanish at affordable prices in 


Our online store for books and music about Peru and South America, in association with


[ Home ][ About ][ Search ][ Contact Rumbos ]

Go to Peru: Travel South America with

rumbosonline1.gif (1254 bytes)

peru.gif (210 bytes) Castellano

designed and hosted by
Anemone Web Services