In 1599 Queen Elizabeth I sent a wonderful present to Sultan Mehmet III of Turkey.
It was a self-playing organ, which could play for six hours, combined with a speaking clock and jewel-encrusted moving figures, all contained in a gilded cabinet sixteen feet high, six feet wide and five feet deep.
With it went four craftsmen led by young Thomas Dallam, musician and organ builder.
It took them six eventful months to get from London to Constantinople.
They encountered storms, volcanoes, exotic animals, foreign food, pirates, brigands, Moors, Turks, Greeks, Jews, beautiful women, barbarous men, kings and pashas, armies on the march, janissaries, eunuchs, slaves, dwarves and finally the most powerful man in the world, the Great Turk himself.
Thomas kept a fascinating diary, now in the British Library.
Faithfully translated into modern English, unembellished and unedited, this marvellous traveller's tale reads as if its author were alive today.