Sara Wheeler reviews The Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah by Tim Mackintosh-Smith, in The Guardian:
The Hall of a Thousand Columns is the second volume of a trilogy in which Tim Mackintosh-Smith trails Ibn Battutah, the Tangier-born adventurer who voyaged over most of the known world between 1325 and 1355 — a period when Islamic culture was travelling fast. Taking up where his first book left off, and with his hallmark combination of irreverence and empathy, Mackintosh-Smith again peers at the Battutian landscape across a gulf of seven centuries. He has confected a curiously addictive blend of history, travel and jokes. But above all he engages with ideas, and his aim is that of the novelist — to send a bucket down into the subconscious.