Author(s): Patrick Leigh Fermor
In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the reader with him as far as Hungary. It is a book of compelling glimpses - not only of the events which were curdling Europe at that time, but also of its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers, the sun on the Bavarian snow, the storks and frogs, the hospitable burgomasters who welcomed him, and that world's grandeurs and courtesies. His powers of recollection have astonishing sweep and verve, and the scope is majestic. First published to enormous acclaim, it confirmed Fermor's reputation as the greatest living travel writer of his reputation, and has, together with its sequel Between the Woods and the Water (the third volume is famously yet to be published), been a perennial seller for 25 years.
The great travel classic, first published in 1977 and recounting an epic journey of nearly 50 years before, now available in John Murray B-format for the first time.
' Nothing short of a masterpiece' -- Jan Morris 'A treasure chest of descriptive writing' -- Spectator 'Not only is the journey one of physical adventure but of cultural awakening. Architecture, art, genealogy, quirks of history and language are all devoured - and here passed on - with a gusto uniquely his' -- Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph 'Every page of this book is distinguished by an image, a metaphor, a flash of humour always original and sometimes as incisive as a laser beam.' -- Vincent Cronin 'A tremendous journey ... and he's fabulous company' -- Manchester Evening News 20040424 ' This is a traveller's tale at its infectious and informative best; vividly remembered and beautifully written' -- Church Times 20040424 'John Murray is doing the decent thing and reissuing all of Leigh Fermor's main books ... But what else would you expect from a publisher whose commitment to geography is such that for more than two centuries it has widened our understanding of the world?' -- Geographical Magazine 20040801 'Rightly considered to be among the most beautiful travel books in the language' -- Independent 20040814 'Bringing the landscape alive as no other writer can, he uses his profound and eclectic understanding of cultures and peoples ... to paint vivid pictures - nobody has illuminated the geography of Europe better' -- Geographical Magazine 20040801
After his walk across Europe, Patrick Leigh Fermor lived and travelled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania and fought in Greece and Crete - living disguised as a shepherd in the mountains for two years organising resistance activities. He was awarded the DSO and CBE, and a knighthood in the 2004 New Year Honours List. His writing career, spanning over fifty years, includes six other titles available in John Murray paperback. He lives in Greece, in a house he designed and built.