Toy, Barbara. The Highway of the Three Kings. Arabia - from South to North.

London, John Murray, (1968).

4to. IX, (3), 188 pp. With 24 black-and-white photographic prints and 2 sketch maps of the route (one double page). Original blue full cloth with white stamped spine-title. Original illustrated dust jacket.


First edition. Illustrated account of exploration along the Incense Route in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, written by "probably the first woman to have made the journey" (blurb). A gift copy with an 1969 inscription to flyleaf: "To Fred with love & best wishes for many happy returns of your birthday from Mina".

The seventh book in Toy's famous travel series involving her Landrover Pollyanna - or 'the desert gazelle', as it came to be called - narrating how her plan to follow the Incense Route was fraught with a disabling combination of immense danger - crossing war-torn Yemen - and burdensome bureaucracy. Her first attempt to cross the Saudi Arabian border was foiled, but she was able to join a pilgrimage caravan and became a valued member of the group due to her first aid box.

Toy's fascinating travelogue describes the sights and sounds along the route, includes anecdotes of Bedouin fables, and compares the rapidly developing country with memories of her previous travels in the Middle East. It includes an account of the Hejaz railway, some sections of which Toy followed on her trip, as well as the railroad's history and the various attempts to re-establish it after the destruction caused by T. E. Lawrence and his men.

Dust jacket unclipped, slightly worn at extremities. Block edges slightly spotted. A fine copy of this important piece of travel literature by one of the first Westerners to visit Saudi Arabia.


OCLC 778317775.