An Audience with an Elephant is a compendium of the oddest and most eccentric travels — a travel book to set alongside Norman Lewis and Eric Newby for the sheer unpredictability of its encounters and its surreal comedy. But Bryon Rogers didn’t venture to the ends of the earth to find singular custom and heroic idiosyncrasy: he had no need to. These are journeys to the heart of the strange and distant land of Britain. On his travels he meets the Turkish POW in British hands — an ancient tortoise captured at Gallipoli and now resident in Great Yarmouth — and the teenaged elephant who has opened more fetes and supermarkets than any TV celebrity. Here, too, are such bizarre figures as the octogenerian triathlete, the man who (before such things were banned) held every world eating record, and the last hangman in his untroubled retirement. Whether exploring the middle of England in the forgotten county of Northamptonshire or accompanying the last tramp through the wilder reaches of Wales, Byron Rogers chronicles a secret history of Britain that is touching, hilarious, magical and the extraordinary lives or ordinary people.