A 'travel tale' certainly, The Towers of Trebizond is highly autobiographical, drawing on Macaulay's own travels to Cyprus, the Levant, and the Holy Land in 1953 and Turkey in 1954 when her plans to visit Russia failed to come to fruition. The publishers Weidenfeld and Nicolson had offered to fund her travel expenses to somewhere she wanted to write on, but Macaulay knew that really her next book ought to be a novel for Collins. The result was The Towers of Trebizond, her 'Turkey book', which reviewers would hesitate to call a novel. The Towers of Trebizond returns us to the novel's origins in the spiritual and fantastical journey, recalling Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Swift's Gulliver's Travels. It draws attention to the proximity to romance that it shares with travel writing. At the same time, Macaulay exposes travel writing's precarious cultural prestige in comparison to the novel.