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Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile

On Thursday, June 9th at 6:30 PM, The Book Stall, an independent bookstore in Winnetka, IL, presents a program with best-selling nonfiction author Candice Millard. She’ll be discussing and signing copies of her new book, River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile. Ms. Millard will be in conversation with bookseller and historian Jon Grand. This is a ticketed event. All tickets include a copy of the book. One person/one book tickets are available, as well as two people/one book tickets. Click here for tickets and more information.

More about the Book

: For millennia the location of the Nile River’s headwaters was shrouded in mystery. In the 19th century, there was a frenzy of interest in ancient Egypt. At the same time, European powers sent off waves of explorations, intending to map the unknown corners of the globe and extend their colonial empires. Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to claim the prize for England. Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, and was a decorated soldier. He was also mercurial, subtle, and an iconoclastic atheist. Speke was Burton’s opposite in temperament and beliefs: a young aristocrat and Army officer determined to make his mark.

From the start the two men clashed. They would endure tremendous hardships, illness, and constant setbacks. Two years in, deep in the African interior, Burton became too sick to press on, but Speke did, and claimed he found the source in a great lake that he christened Lake Victoria. Yet there was a third man on both expeditions, his name obscured by imperial annals, whose exploits were even more extraordinary. This was Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was enslaved and shipped from his home village in East Africa to India. When the man who purchased him died, he made his way into the local Sultan’s army, and eventually traveled back to Africa, where he used his linguistic prowess and raw courage to forge a living as a guide. Without Bombay and men like him, who led, carried, and protected the expedition, neither Englishman would have come close to the headwaters of the Nile, or perhaps even survived.

More About the Author: Candice Millard is the author of The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, and Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, a top ten critics pick by the New York Times. Millard’s work has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, the Guardian, National Geographic, and Time magazine. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and three children.

For more information, please contact Robert McDonald, Events Coordinator, The Book Stall, 847-446-8880,


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