Warned by a fortune-teller not to risk flying, the author - a seasoned correspondent - took to travelling by rail, road and sea. Consulting fortune-tellers and shamans wherever he went, he learnt to understand and respect older ways of life and beliefs now threatened by the crasser forms of Western modernity.William Shawcross in the Literary Review praised Terzani for `his beautifully written adventure story... a voyage of self-discovery... He sees fortune-tellers, soothsayers, astrologers, chiromancers, seers, shamans, magicians, palmists, frauds, men and women of god (many gods) all over Asia and in Europe too... Almost every page and every story celebrates the mystical and the unknowable. It is a fabulous story of renewal and change... Terzani is already something of a legend. He has written magnificently all his life. Never better than now.'Yes, the fortune-teller did save him from an air-crash in Cambodia. Looking back afterwards, Terzani reckoned that `I was marked for death and instead I was reborn.'
For 25 years Terzani has lived in Asia, witnessing and reporting on its wars and revolutions. Born in Florence, educated in Europe and the US, Terzani became Far Eastern correspondent of Der Spiegel in 1971. In 1975 he was one of the few Western journalists to stay behind in Saigon and to witness the North Vietnamese take over the city. In 1984 he was living in China when he was arrested, accused of counter-revolutionary activity and expelled. His last book was translated as GOODNIGHT, MISTER LENIN: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE END OF THE SOVIET EMPIRE (Picador 1993/4).