The Collector of Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton : A nineteenth-century British colonial officer with a rare ability to assimilate into indigenous cultures, Sir Richard Francis Burton was an obsessive traveler whose journeys took him from England to British India, Arabia, and on a quest for the source of the Nile River in Africa. He learned more than twenty languages, translated The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, and took part in the pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition to writing several travel books. This elegant novel tells the story of Burton's adventures in British West India, his experience on the hajj to Mecca, and his exploration of East Africa. In each section, perspective shifts between Burton and the voices of those men he encounters along the way: his Indian servant recounts his travails with Burton to a scribe; the qadi, the governor, and the shari in Mecca investigate Burton's hajj; and Sidi Mubarak Bombay, Burton's African guide, shares his story with friends in Zanzibar. This remarkable concentric narrative examines the underbelly of colonialism while offering a breathtaking tour of the nineteenth century's most stunning landscapes.