top of page

Book Review: The First English Explorer - Kit Mayers

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

I don't know about you but If i'm not traveling, i'm researching my next adventure. As well as looking for a great read to take on that next journey. When the opportunity came up to read "The First English Explorer" I was excited, full of intrigue and anticipation of the book arriving! I couldn't wait to delve into it and discover the routes of the first sea voyages and read about the adventures of Anthony Jenkinson - The First English Explorer. Who says you need to make a physical journey, books are the best!

The First English Explorer - Kit Mayers

Title: The First English Explorer

Author: Kit Mayers

ISBN: 9781785892288

Available in Paperback £14.99

Travel back to the early 16th century and discover the life of Anthony Jenkinson (1529-1611) and his adventures on the route to the Orient.

In 1557 Anthony Jenkinson was sent by the merchants of London to try to find an overland route right across Asia to Cathay and the riches of the Orient, setting off a year before Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne. His expedition to the east took place some twenty-nine years earlier than the first English expedition to the west. As well as surviving storms, Jenkinson was faced with thieving, illness, and several attacks by bandits, before eventually, by sheer persistence, reaching Bokhara, which is now in Uzbekistan. He had completed two-thirds of the journey and had reached the Silk Road that led to Cambaluc (Beijing), before finding that he could go no further because the route ahead was closed by continuous wars.

Author Kit Mayers has dedicated much of his time to investigating the travels of the first English explorer, Anthony Jenkinson. His extensive research has come together in his new book that details the adventures of Jenkinson, focusing particularly on his journeys to the Orient.

KIT MAYERS is a retired medical doctor who has sailed around the world and travelled extensively, including Antarctica, Argentina, Bhutan, Chile, China, Liberia, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Thailand, Russia, and Uzbekistan. He has followed Jenkinson's route as far as possible, and he has supplemented Jenkinson's account to enable modern readers to follow the story. Kit currently resides in Devon.

"My own travels made me wonder how on earth he did it," explains Kit. "It made me think about how Jenkinson travelled that far, and what he did know and what he did not know. He was amazingly successful despite all sorts of hazards."

"This book is a lively and carefully researched study of Anthony Jenkinson." - Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt, OBE.

"This important book fills an undoubted gap in the history of English travellers in the 16th century." - Professor David Loades, FSA, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wales.

"This courageous, determined explorer tackled the most formidable obstacles and deserves recognition today." - Colonel John Blashford-Snell, OBE, FRGS, founder of the Scientific Exploration Society KIT.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well-researched book on the travels and adventures of Anthony Jenkinson, as well as the fanciful tales of the linkage between Anthony Jenkinson and William Shakespeare and his liaisons with historical characters such as Ivan The Terrible. One can only imagine what the world must have been like in the early 16th century, negotiating with people of different cultures in very different languages! And of course traveling over inhospitable lands and rough seas, that had not yet been mapped, with their unforeseeable dangers. This book brings some of those elements to life. One not to be missed by history enthusiasts and those that love travel adventures!

The First English Explorer can be purchased via Amazon.

Happy Travels:) x

bottom of page