From a childhood spent with a wealthy family in Tsarist Russia to a career as owner of a first-class hotel in Kathmandu in the shadow of Mount Everest is a long and colourful road. It is the road taken by Boris Lissanevitch, the extraordinary central character of this book; a road that led him as a young boy into hardship and battle in the Russian Revolution; to a career as a famous dancer with Diaghilev's Ballet Russe; to Calcutta in the glittering days of the British Raj, where he helped found and manage the exclusive 300 Club, and finally to the beautiful kingdom of Nepal with its ancient civilization virtually untouched by Western life. But for a freak of fate Boris and Michel Peissel might never have met-but perhaps this meeting was less accidental than it seems. Those who roam the world are bound sooner or later to meet him either in person or in the multitude of his friends who bear the impress of his remarkable personality. The world truly is his oyster. Few can have lived such a rich and varied life; whether he was hunting man-eating tigers, taking part in an anthropological expedition to Hollywood with two fabulously wealthy maharajas, embarking with great enthusiasm but less success on a scheme for overland cruises from Britain to Nepal, or playing an important part in the coronation of a Nepalese king, Brois enters into experience with a super-human zest and a prodigious good-naturedness. He is one of the few people who have been vouchsafed in full measure the greatest gift the gods can grant-the art of living.
Rarely does a book come along with a subject of such variety, power and humanity; grq still is an author capable of doing such ample justice to his subject Michel Peissel captures all the drama of Borisis extraordinary exploits; he recreates the brilliance of Diaghilev's circle, the misery and terror of the Revolution, the high noon of British India, making his story an adventure in time as well as space. Above all he does justice to the personality of Boris himself-a personality which has cast its spell over people of all nations and levels of society who have come into contact with him, from waiters to monarchs and from maharajas to mountaineers. It is a spell that will captivate and enrich the reader himself.
Michel Peissel's first book, THE LOST WORLD OF QUINTANA ROO, established him as a skilled and enjoyable author, with a highly distinctive talent for writing about extraordinary people, events and places.