The authorized biography shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year, the National Book Awards and the Costa Biography Award.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary, and above all he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A TIME OF GIFTS and BETWEEN THE ROODS AND THE WATER; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world.
Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his closest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.
Artemis Cooper's funny, wise, learned but totally candid biography reveals Leigh Fermor to be an adventurer through and through . . . page-turning - Barnaby Rogerson, Independent
Artemis Cooper's definitive biography draws on many years' encounters with Fermor, and is probably the most important travel-related book of the year - Conde Nast Traveller
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 . . . At last his biography has been detailed in full, in Artemis Cooper's tender and excellent book - Robert MacFarlane, Guardian
This book is a primer for those poor souls yet to encounter his work, and a valuable, decoding manual for the multitude who believe that Leigh Fermor's trilogy about his youthful walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul marks one of the high points of twentieth-century English prose . . . Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover - Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
Xenophilia is as English as Stilton. In one of the wonderful letters quoted in this perceptive, haunting and highly readable biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor called living in England "like living in the heart of a lettuce. I pine for hot stones and thorns and olive trees and prickly pears" - Philip Mansel, The Spectator
Happy the hero who, after a lifetime of glorious achievement, in death finds a biographer worthy of his memory. Artemis Cooper . . . makes this marvellous book less a mere life story than an evocation. [Patrick Leigh Fermor] is justly commemorated in this magnificent biography, and will surely be remembered for ever as one of the very best of men - Jan Morris, Sunday Telegraph
Magnificent . . . Cooper's book is the perfect memorial to this remarkable man . . . For those of us who loved him and his work, and for a whole generation of writers who set off in his footsteps, he was the exemplar, showing how magnificently an English life could still be lived. He remains . . . the model to which we still aspire - William Dalrymple, Financial Times
Whether describing a night attack on Crete, a love affair or the political tensions over Cyprus that poisoned Anglo-Greek relations after the Second World War, she writes with a cool hand and clear head. Her book lives up to the majesty of the man - Country Life
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 as well as Words of Mercury, an anthology of the work of Patrick Leigh Fermor; and, with Colin Thubron, she edited The Broken Road, the final volume of Leigh Fermor's European trilogy.