by Artemis Cooper | John Murray
Sir Patrick ‘Paddy’ Leigh Fermor was once described by the BBC as a ‘cross between
Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene’, extolled for his acts of derring-do as much as his opulent prose. Here, Artemis Cooper, granddaughter of Leigh Fermor’s friend and beauty Lady Diana Cooper, is charged with the unenviable feat of relating the story of one of Britain’s greatest raconteurs, drawing on extensive interviews with his closest friends, family and the man himself. The life revealed is of one of the most remarkable travellers of the 20th century.
A boy described as ‘a dangerous mix of sophistication and recklessness’ by his teachers, Leigh Fermor went on to walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul at 18 (forming the basis of his best-selling books), become a war hero in Crete (whose exploits were portrayed by Dirk Bogarde in Ill Met By Moonlight), hang out with Errol Flynn, and embark on a love affair with a princess. But for those closest to him, friends, family and loyal readers, it is his story-telling they remember him for; as a man who wore his learning so playfully.