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The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos by [Fermor, Patrick Leigh]
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The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Nobody could do the job better than the book's editors. Colin Thubron is a travel writer of Leigh Fermor's calibre, Artemis Cooper is his masterly biographer . . . It contains wonderful passages of purest Leigh Fermor . . . Time and again he gives us vivid glimpses of encounters along the way - priests and peasants, the squalors of the back country, high life in Bucharest - and this virtuoso display is embedded as always in his astonishing range of learning . . . full of fun, kindness, easy learning, sophistication and innocence . . . a gently fitting conclusion to his tumultuous masterpiece (Jan Morris Mail on Sunday)

This is a major work. It confirms that Leigh Fermor was, along with Robert Byron, the greatest travel writer of his generation, and this final volume assures the place of the trilogy as one of the masterpieces of the genre, indeed one of the masterworks of post-war English non-fiction (William Dalrymple Guardian)

Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper have put this book to bed with skill and sensitivity . . . Friends and fans, acolytes, devotees and disciples can all rest easy. It was worth the wait (Justin Marozzi Spectator)

The editors have done a fine job (Literary Review)

It is magnificent. Cooper and Thubron have done an immense service in bringing the book to publication, for it unmistakably stands comparison with its remarkable siblings. The prose has the glorious turbulence and boil of the first two books, and the youthful magic of his 'dream-odyssey' is still potent (Robert MacFarlane, The Times)

A fitting conclusion to his masterpiece . . . This book is momentous (Mail on Sunday)

The pages are filled with brilliant evocations of his life on the road, none richer than the time he spent in a Romanian broth . . . It is a fitting epilogue to 20th-century travel-writing and essential reading for devotees of Sir Patrick's other works (The Economist)

I set off along The Broken Road laden with expectations that I would have to make allowances. Yet almost from the off, I realised that I would have no use for these. Here was a wealth of descriptions that only Leigh Fermor could have conjured up . . . In a stroke of brilliance, Thubron and Cooper have included the separate diary that Leigh Fermor kept of the month he spent exploring Mount Athos in Greece immediately after leaving Istanbul. So, the Athos diary, aglow with rich experience, finally brings the journey to its rightful end in the spiritual heart of the country that was to prove, though the young author did not yet know it, Leigh Fermor's "real love and destination" (New Statesman)

This is a picaresque essay, a virtuoso tapestry of anecdote in the author's best tradition (Country Life)

The first two volumes were a joy to read, not least for Leigh Fermor's ability to recapture in later life the intense excitement of being a young man lighting out. The latest book offers similar joys . . . Also evident are another of the joys of the earlier books - the pyrotechnics of his writing. Exuberance is expressed in heightened suggestions . . . it captures the joy of the open road, the fresh view he gives of Europe as it began to show the stresses that led to world war, and the glimpses of a long-lost life and innocence (Observer)

The Mount Athos diary - untampered with by his older self - reminds us what an extraordinary young man he was . . . This early style is more immediate, more youthful; a pleasure to read in a wholly different way from the later magnificence (Financial Times)

A road trip that is as illuminating as it is incomplete made by a traveller, warrior and jewelled stylist (Independent)

There is plenty to enjoy, so much so that the reader often forgets to wonder how much is true, and how much the revisionist work of an inventive and poetic mind . . . the pleasure lies in its combination of erudition, exuberant speculation, lively anecdote and meticulous, picture-painting language . . . Gorgeous imagery, granted, yet it is in Leigh Fermor's disarming cameos that The Broken Road excels (Sunday Times)

His literary executors have topped, tailed and polished with such sympathy and skill that their interventions cannot be detected. This is pure Paddy: these are his feelings, perceptions and responses, his the observations, his the descriptions, consummate in a phrase, acute and intense when extended to paragraph or page; this is his style yet it is in many ways a youthful text, its core the adventure of a very young man, its embellishments the experience, curiosity and wisdom of his older self (Evening Standard)

What a poignant and somehow fitting finale for a legendary procrastinator. It was certainly worth the wait (National)

This final leg, through Romania and Bulgaria rounds off a classic trilogy (i)

For readers of the other two books, to see the odyssey at last (almost) concluded, will naturally be irresistible. For everyone else there is the discovery of a unique writer (Sunday Express)

The final volume confirms the trilogy as one of the 'masterpieces' of English travel writing (Week)

A scintillating continuation of the prodigious walk that took the young Leigh Fermor right into the heart of magically different pre-war Europe and beyond . . . his journey is complete, his world task accomplished, with the whole undertaking as thick in marvels as Aladdin's cave (Irish Times)

The perfect present for anyone with wanderlust (Good Housekeeping)

The third unfinished volume of Leigh Fermor's enchanted journey through Mitteleuropa is here at last (TLS Books of the Year)

Glorious . . . Artemis Cooper and Colin Thubron created THE BROKEN ROAD from a rejected essay on walking (15 times the size requested of Paddy), some failed drafts and a pair of flimsy travel journals. But the author is arguably more present in their loving editorial hands . . . than in any of his other books. There is also that infectious enthusiasm for the road and the lived experience, for spoken language, oral knowledge and for everything Byzantine and Greek (Daily Telegraph, Best Books of the Year)

His epic journey's erudite conclusion will not disappoint his many fans (Saga)

Offers a fascinating glimpse of a lost time and talent (Financial Times, Books of the Year)

My favourite book this year was the final, unfinished and posthumous volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's walking trilogy . . . it is every bit as masterly as Between the Woods and the Water (Observer, Books of the Year)

Glorious . . . Artemis Cooper and Colin Thubron created The Broken Road . . . but the author is arguably more present in their loving editorial hands . . . than in any of his other books. There is also that infectious enthusiasm for the road and the lived experience, for spoken language, oral knowledge and for everything Byzantine and Greek (Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year)

Its rich depictions and liquid language make this a masterpiece to savour (Sunday Express)

In magnificent prose [Patrick Leigh Fermor] describes liaisons with countesses in crumbling castles, changing landscapes, now lost forever, and the delight of a young man with nothing but himself and his quest for adventure. Travel writing at its most sublime (Daily Express)

His award-winning biographer Artemis Cooper and travel writer Colin Thubron have painstakingly and sensitively worked on Paddy's draft of the final leg of his epic journey and ghosted a wonderful account of his swashbuckling journey . . . It conjures up a life that's unimaginable in more cautious modern times and is beautifully written (Daily Mail)

Like many really good things, it's hard to say why The Broken Road, the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's account of his walk from Holland to Constantinople, is so satisfying. But it is (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

The long-awaited final volume of the trilogy by Patrick Leigh Fermor - hailed as the greatest travel writer of his generation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4064 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CIVLX5U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,411 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't get me wrong, much of it is in PLF's inimitable style, and frankly it's a great relief to (almost) finish the journey having been stuck in limbo at the Iron Gates for several years since reading volume 2.

But of course having been compiled by his biographer and literary executor from the notes he left behind, it's not exactly what PLF would have written had he finished it himself. I was particularly disappointed by whole sections that PLF couldn't remember, and by the inclusion of quite a lot of material about what happened to Romania and Bulgaria after the impending war and from some of PLF's subsequent visits - which all feels rather like padding and an unnecessary diversion.

In my view it doesn't work as a stand-alone piece of literature, so if you haven't read the first two volumes don't start here. If you have, then it completes the journey, and the trilogy.

This book documents, in a slightly unsatisfactory manner, the final missing piece from what was, by any measure, an extraordinary life.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to admit to some trepidation when hearing that the final volume of this great trilogy was to be pieced together from the diaries and journals of PLF. I should have been reassured by the knowledge that both Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper would be at the helm, but nerves still prevailed as I dipped in for the first time. I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that the first two volumes of this extraordinary trilogy were the sole province of PLF and that the final "reconstruction" would somehow not live up to expectations. I was wrong!

The third volume is an absolute delight from beginning to end. PLF's voice (and what a voice) comes across loud and clear. The final chapters on Mount Athos are worth the price of entry alone. Witty, erudite, vivacious and, above all, a fitting last testament to a great writer who will be sorely missed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A worthy companion to "A Time of Gifts" and "Between the Woods and the Water".We are taken seamlessly on to the end of the journey.Having waited so long for this final book,one was anxious that it might be an anti-climax to read. But no! Savour P.L.F. for the final time. You will not regret it. A wonderful tribute to the fascinating man
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To me, as to many readers, those final words - 'to be concluded' - of Between the Woods and the Water were unexpected and anti-climactic. It left the 19-year-old Patrick Leigh Fermor sitting happily on a boat in the Danube with the Romanian town of Orsova a few miles away on the north bank and the (now Serbian) town of Severin a few miles away to the south.

During the 27 years after the publication of 'Between the Woods in the Water' Patrick Leigh Fermor - Paddy to everyone who knew him - made a number of attempts to write the story of the final part of his walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. Working from fragmentary diaries and an uncertain memory he was still trying to complete the manuscript when he died in 2011.

Artemis Cooper and Colin Thurbron - his editors and literary executors - faced a daunting and near-Herculean task in attempting to edit and complete the story. But they've succeeded - and in the process produced a manuscript that retains both Paddy's unique and near lyrical style of writing and his detailed knowledge of the religions, languages and customs of the various countries through which he walked.

The touches of humour in the book - particularly when, arriving late at night on outskirts of Budapest, Paddy mistakes a brothel for a down-market hotel - are delightful. Then, a few pages later whilst hiking along a stony beach-side path late at night, he manages to fall into the extremely cold sea - and is rescued by a group of near-nomadic Bulgarian fishermen. He spends some time living with them in their cave, drinking slavo and trying desperately to work out the origins of their Greek dancing...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was initially reluctant to like this book: Artemis Cooper's recent biography had revealed aspects of PLF I didn't greatly like, and I was still sulking as a result; and the fact that the book had been patched together after the author's death made me over-sensitive to the occasional stylistic or grammatical howler. I should have been less prickly. The book is terrific. As usual, Leigh Fermor manages to combine the lyrical and the encyclopaedic in a leisurely way which never bores. Highlights for me were his slow meandering through the Balkan mountains, the bright lights and chatter of Bucharest high society, and the memorable scene in the cave on the Black Sea coast, with the dancing Greek fishermen.

Unlike some other reviewers I found the section on Mount Athos a little disappointing: monasteries are ticked off one by one, and the narrative has little space in which to breathe. I was surprised to learn that PLF apparently made several attempts to polish up the manuscript of this section, as it reads more like unreconstructed juvenilia than the earlier part of the book. Good in its way, though, and an interesting waystage in the development of the writer.

The book has an excellent jacket by the way. Ed Kluz is a worthy successor to John Craxton, who did most of PLF's covers.
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