‘Tom Sheppard, doyen of the desert.’ ... Michael Palin

BUZZ ALDRIN, the second man to set foot on the moon, exclaimed ‘Magnificent desolation!’ when he stepped down from the lunar lander. He would have been moved by the Algerian Sahara. But desolation is not the ideal word for this majestic, pristine wilderness.

Such raw, dignified landscape touches a nerve in all who encounter it – especially, and ideally, if they are alone to savour the solitude without distraction. Such rare good fortune was Tom Sheppard’s in journeys and explorations most recently spanning eight years in Algeria’s remotest regions. Many years’ desert expeditioning preceded these journeys – years in which the magical combination of landscape and light became embedded in his very soul.

The success of Sheppard’s recent book Quiet for a Tuesday, the story of his 2006 trip in which the confiscation of his maps and satellite images led to a carefully considered but challenging 700-mile off-tracks sector without either, has led to this book – following on from the acclaimed photography illustrating the earlier publication.

Here full rein is given to the breathtaking scenery the Algerian Sahara has to offer – a region for which Sheppard has proposed Protected Area status.