Related to: 'Patrick Leigh Fermor'

Robert Macfarlane delights in a biography of his writer-adventurer hero

Fantastic review in The Guardian

'Patrick Leigh Fermor survived enough assaults on his existence to make Rasputin seem like a quitter . . . He was elegant as a cat, darkly handsome, unboreable, curious, fearless, fortunate, blessed with a near eidetic memory, and is surely one of the great English prose stylists of his generation . . . '

John Murray

In Tearing Haste

Patrick Leigh Fermor, Deborah Devonshire

In spring 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire - youngest of the six legendary Mitford sisters - invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, the Devonshires' house in Ireland. This halcyon visit sparked off a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of sporadic but highly entertaining letters. There can rarely have been such contrasting styles: Debo, unashamed philistine and self-professed illiterate (though suspected by her friends of being a secret reader), darts from subject to subject while Paddy, polyglot, widely read prose virtuoso, replies in the fluent, polished manner that has earned him recognition as one of the finest writers in the English language. Prose notwithstanding, the two friends have much in common: a huge enjoyment of life, youthful high spirits, warmth, generosity and lack of malice. There are glimpses of President Kennedy's inauguration, weekends at Sandringham, stag hunting in France, filming with Errol Flynn in French Equatorial Africa and, above all, of life at Chatsworth, the great house that Debo spent much of her life restoring, and of Paddy in the house that he and his wife Joan designed and built on the southernmost peninsula of Greece.

John Murray

The Broken Road

Patrick Leigh Fermor

The long-awaited final volume of the trilogy by Patrick Leigh Fermor. A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water were the first two volumes in a projected trilogy that would describe the walk that Patrick Leigh Fermor undertook at the age of eighteen from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. 'When are you going to finish Vol. III?' was the cry from his fans; but although he wished he could, the words refused to come. The curious thing was that he had not only written an early draft of the last part of the walk, but that it predated the other two. It remains unfinished but The Broken Road - edited and introduced by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper - completes an extraordinary journey.

John Murray

Abducting a General

Patrick Leigh Fermor
John Murray

Words of Mercury

Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor was only 18 when he set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, described many years later in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. It was during these early wanderings that he started to pick up languages, and where he developed his extraordinary sense of the continuity of history: a quality that deepens the colours of every place he writes about, from the peaks of the Pyrenees to the cell of a Trappist monastery. His experiences in wartime Crete sealed the deep affection he had already developed for Greece, a country whose character and customs he celebrates in two books, Mani and Roumeli, and where he has lived for over forty years. Whether he is drawing portraits in Vienna or sketching Byron's slippers in Missolonghi, the Leigh Fermor touch is unmistakable. Its infectious enthusiasm is driven by an insatiable curiosity and an omnivorous mind - all inspired by a passion for words and language that makes him one of the greatest prose writers of his generation.

Interview with Artemis Cooper

'Everyone fell in love with Paddy Leigh Fermor'

Read the Telegraph's interview with Artemis Cooper, where the biographer talks about Patrick Leigh Fermor, the impact he had on others, and writing his biography.

17 Sep
Ivy House, 94-96 North End Road, London, NW11 7SX

Artemis Cooper at Ham & High Festival

Artemis Cooper will be speaking about The Broken Road at Ham & High Literary Festival.

John Murray

Cairo in the War

Artemis Cooper

For troops in the desert, Cairo meant fleshpots or brass hats. For well-connected officers, it meant polo at the Gezira Club and drinks at Shepheard's. For the irregular warriors, Cairo was a city to throw legendary parties before the next mission behind enemy lines. For countless refugees, it was a stopping place in the long struggle home. The political scene was dominated by the British Ambassador Sir Miles Lampson. In February 1942 he surrounded the Abdin Palace with tanks and attempted to depose King Farouk. Five months later it looked as if the British would be thrown out of Egypt for good. Rommel's forces were only sixty miles from Alexandria - but the Germans were pushed back and Cairo life went on. Meanwhile, in the Egyptian Army, a handful of young officers were thinking dangerous thoughts.

15 Sep
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG

Artemis Cooper at Kings Place Festival


Artemis Cooper will be speaking about The Broken Road at Kings Place Festival.

29 Nov
St. Peter's Church, CB7 4AH

Artemis Cooper at St. Peter's Church, Ely


Artemis Cooper will be talking about The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor at St. Peter's Church, Ely

Artemis Cooper

Artemis Cooper is the author of a number of books including Cairo in the War, 1939-1945, Writing at the Kitchen Table, the authorized biography of Elizabeth David and, most recently, Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. With her husband, Antony Beevor, she wrote Paris After the Liberation, 1945-1949. She has edited two collections of letters, The Broken Road, the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's trilogy as well as an anthology of his writings, Words of Mercury.

John Murray, an imprint of John Murray Press, will publish the fully authorised biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard in September 2016, written by Artemis Cooper.

John Murray to Publish Artemis Cooper's Autrhorized Biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard

John Murray, an imprint of John Murray Press, will publish the fully authorised biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard in September 2016, written by Artemis Cooper.

12 Jun
Fulham Library

Artemis Cooper at Hammersmith & Fulham Arts Festival


Artemis Cooper at Hammersmith & Fulham Arts Festival

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In December 1933, at the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) walked across Europe, reaching Constantinople in early 1935. He travelled on into Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzene, with whom he lived - mostly in Rumania - until the outbreak of war. Serving in occupied Crete, he led a successful operation to kidnap a German general, for which he won the DSO and was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. After the war he began writing, and travelled extensively round Greece with Joan Eyres Monsell whom he later married. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.

19 Oct
St Thomas' Church Hall, St Thomas Street, Wells, BA5

Artemis Cooper at Wells Literary Weekend


Artemis Cooper will be speaking about The Broken Road at Wells Literary Weekend.

John Murray

The Traveller's Tree

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In this, his first book, Patrick Leigh Fermor recounts his tales of a personal odyssey to the lands of the Traveller's Tree -- a tall, straight-trunked tree whose sheath-like leaves collect copious amounts of water. He made his way through the long island chain of the West Indies by steamer, aeroplane and sailing ship, noting in his records of the voyage the minute details of daily life, of the natural surroundings, and of the idiosyncratic and distinct civilisations he encountered amongst the Caribbean Islands. From the ghostly Ciboneys and the dying Caribs to the religious eccentricities like the Kingston Pocomaniacs and the Poor Whites in the Islands of the Saints, Patrick Leigh Fermor recreates a vivid world, rich and vigorous with life.

21 Aug
ScottishPower Studio Theatre, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4DR

Artemis Cooper at Edinburgh Festival


New appointments and acquisitions at John Murray Press

Hodder & Stoughton's new division John Murray Press has made key appointments in their sales and communications departments. Ben Gutcher, previously Digital Key Account Director at Hodder & Stoughton, has begun his new role as Sales Director for John Murray Press, overseeing sales across all five imprints within the new division: John Murray (Publishers), Hodder Faith, Consumer Learning, Two Roads and Saltyard Books. Hodder Publicity Director Rosie Gailer has been appointed Communications Director for the new division, and Lyndsey Ng has also moved across to the John Murray Press communications department as Publicity Manager. The moves come as part of the Hodder & Stoughton restructure, creating specialist sales, publicity and marketing teams for the divisions. It signals the start of an exciting second half of 2013 for John Murray Press, with highlight titles over the coming months including the much anticipated third volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's travel trilogy, THE BROKEN ROAD, Michael Rosen's ALPHABETICAL, the official story of the discovery of Richard III’s remains THE KING’S GRAVE, and SCHOTTENFREUDE, the new book by bestseller Ben Schott. John Murray Press have also recently lined up a roster of high-profile titles for 2014 and beyond: John Murray Press Managing Director Nick Davies has acquired a new book by Amanda Vickery – the acclaimed historian, prize winning author and broadcaster will turn her gaze on the 1950s in MODERN GIRLS, a social history focusing on the lives of women in a period of enormous change. Davies struck a deal for UK & Commonwealth Rights with Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander Associates. Davies has also bought rights to the letters of Roald Dahl, compiled by Donald Sturrock, whose 2011 biography of Dahl was widely praised. Dahl was a prolific letter writer from the age of 9 and for the last thirty years of his life he spent two hours a day on correspondence. Full of his wit and his darker, more troubled side, LETTERS FROM DAHL will be published to coincide with the Dahl centenary in 2016. Roland Philipps has struck a deal with Ed Victor for a new history of women in the twentieth century from acclaimed social historian Juliet Nicolson. Philipps has also secured World English language rights to a biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard by Artemis Cooper, author of 2012’s hugely acclaimed biography PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR. In a hotly fought auction, John Murray Publisher Georgina Laycock acquired WHAT IF? by ex-NASA scientist Randall Munroe, whose cult webcomic has had more than a billion page hits and featured in Wired magazine as one of their 20 key influences of the last 20 years, alongside Steve Jobs and online dating. WHAT IF (acquired from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein and coming out in October 2014) will answer all your questions about science. In another auction, Laycock has just snapped up THE DARLEY ARABIAN, a vivid history of racing through the stories of 25 exceptional horses, from the Independent's award-winning racing correspondent Chris McGrath. The agent is Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates and the book will come out in 2015. Meanwhile Publishing Director Eleanor Birne has also acquired two new titles: from Tracy Bohan at The Wylie Agency, a new book by Craig Taylor, NEW YORKERS, which will do the same for the US city as his much loved LONDONERS did for the UK capital and will be published in 2016; and from Barney Karpfinger at The Karpfinger Agency LILLIAN ON LIFE by Alison Lester, a brilliantly written, sassy debut novel that will appeal to readers of The Best Of Everything and fans of Mad Men. LILLIAN ON LIFE will be published in July 2014. Nick Davies says: ‘I am delighted to welcome Ben, Rosie and Lyndsey to the John Murray Press team. Their expertise is considerable and their passion for books infectious. They're already having a considerable impact on our strong autumn list and are helping to build an exciting new generation of writers here at John Murray.’ For further information or for more details on titles mentioned above, please contact Rosie Gailer: 020 7873 6452 or

John Murray

Along the Enchanted Way

William Blacker

When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest. From sheepfolds harried by wolves, to courting expeditions in the snow, he experienced the traditional way of life to the full, and became accepted into a community who treated him as one of their own. But Blacker was also intrigued by the Gypsies, those dark, foot-loose strangers of spell-binding allure who he saw passing through the village. Locals warned him to stay clear but he fell in love and there followed a bitter struggle. Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker's adventures will soon be part of its history. From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania, to the book's poignant ending, Along the Enchanted Way transports us back to a magical country world most of us thought had vanished long ago.

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