Ivor Lucas spent 33 years as a diplomat, mostly in the Middle East. He served as an ambassador to Oman and to Syria and, after retirement in 1984, he maintained his interest in Middle Eastern affairs in a commercial and then an academic context. In this book, Lucas portrays the diplomatic service from the point of view of a "toiler in the vineyards", which he believes is the reality of much of diplomatic life today, as distinct from the glossy version often portrayed in the media. His account contains official and personal anecdotes.
Early days; once a gunner; second class return; eastward bound; Arabia infelix; martial Ayub; Sanusi sojourn; Whitehall warrior; barren rocks; among the Hausa; Danish delight; four years hard; decline and fall; "The last vestige of the Raj"; the road to Damascus; Indian summer.