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The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos (Trilogy #3)

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  587 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water were the first two volumes in a projected trilogy that would describe the walk that Patrick Leigh Fermor undertook at the age of eighteen from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. 'When are you going to finish Vol. III?' was the cry from his fans; but although he wished he could, the words refused to come. The curious t ...more
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published September 12th 2013 by John Murray Publishers Ltd (first published September 2013)
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This posthumous volume may be the most emotionally satisfying of the three works comprising the trilogy, which describe the eighteen-year-old author's year-long journey by foot along the Danube in 1934-35. (The first volume was A Time of Gifts and the second, Between the Woods and the Water. See my reviews on both of these.) It's astounding we even have it. The editors have taken several of PLF's unfinished manuscripts and pieced them into a convincing semblance of a third volume.

This volume is
Mar 21, 2014 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s trilogy of the Great Trudge, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, begins with a rearriving at the Danube at the Iron Gates and ends, like the continent of Europe herself, shattered in fragments along the shores of the Black Sea. The book was not completed when Paddy died in 2011, and the broken road of this broken text falls into shards of diary entries, barely hinting at his time in the great city that was the goal of his youthful wandering, and ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The bravura passage we miss is a description of Istanbul – a capriccio of Constantinople's ruins...I like to imagine him taken up by the trilogy's culminating noctambulistic smart set, the highest-spirited and most sensuously erudite of the entire journey. After a day lazing in the host's library, hungover yet casually assimilating the corpus of orientalisme, especially relishing Gautier's and Nerval's accounts of the city, he joins and exhorts whiskey-sprung, lantern-lit hijinks in the spooky ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I heard of Patrick Leigh Fermor's death three years ago, I felt a sense of loss -- not only because "Paddy" was the greatest travel writer of our time -- but because now he would never finish the trilogy that began with The Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. Fortunately, I was wrong. His friends Colin Thubron (no mean travel writer himself) and Artemis Cooper took Paddy's notes and came up with The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos which continued the author's ...more
Σωτήρης  Αδαμαρέτσος
Το τρίτο μέρος της τριλογίας του ΠΛΦ του ταξιδιού του στην Ευρώπη το 1934-1935. Ξεκίνα στην Βουλγαρία όπου μπαίνει από τον Δούναβη και μετά από ένα πέρασμα στο Βουκουρέστι, κυλάει προς την Κωνσταντινουπολη δίπλα στα νερά της Μαύρης Θάλασσας. Ένα ημιτελές έργο που δημοσιεύτηκε μετά θάνατον και κλείνει με το κομμάτι της παραμονής του κ περιήγησης στο Αγιο Όρος το χειμώνα του 35.
Η ανάγνωση του έργου αυτού, των τριών τόνων, αποτέλεσε μια αποκάλυψη για μενα στο βαθμό που η Ιστορία παραμένει το κύριο
It is not often that you encounter trilogies outside fiction, but this book is the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's journey from the Hook of Holland to the exotic Constantinople. He begun the walk in 1933, just shy of his 18th birthday, but never actually got around to writing the first book in the 1970’s and the second volume in the mid 1980’s. He had started on the manuscript for this, the final book, but sadly died before it could be completed. Thankfully Artemis Cooper, friend and ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Bruce rated it it was amazing
When the renowned British author and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor died in 2011 at the age of 96, he left incomplete his trilogy describing his two-year walk (1933-35) across Europe from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople and into Greece when he was in his late teens. The first two books were written a few decades after the events described, but this final volume was left unfinished, existing in various stages of completion, some parts nearly done and others still in diary form. Shortly ...more
May 26, 2015 Eleanor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as beautiful as the first two volumes, which Fermor had written in full and lovingly remembered detail. This book has been pulled together from some earlier work he had done on this last part of the journey to Istanbul, but then put aside, breaking off in mid sentence. The last 100 pages or so are from his diary describing his time on Mount Athos in Greece, which was interesting to read but were the notes of a very young man written at the time, rather than the polished memories of the ...more
Dec 02, 2015 Spiros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who realize that the journey is the destination
Shelves: citylights, heroes
And so we reach the end: Patrick Leigh Fermor, fetching up at the British Consulate at Burgas, a stone's throw away from his stated goal of Constantinople, reeking of pastourma (basically, highly spiced camel jerky), the part of his journey most "amply covered in the intermittent journal so strangely recovered, two and a half decades after I had lost it and long after embarking on this book."; and here the narrative ends, in mid-sentence, as the nonagenarian Leigh Fermor finally runs out of ...more
Final third of narrative of walk to Constantinople ends in mid-sentence, half-way down the Bulgarian coast. He never completed it; this copy was created from dusty notes. One can tell the point about half way though where PLF stopped revising--requiring his literary executors to print a only rough draft. Interesting--but by no means on par with volumes one and two. What's especially missing are the romances that so spiced up earlier books (though there's at least one hint). But what's especially ...more
Suzi Stembridge
Nov 13, 2013 Suzi Stembridge rated it it was amazing
Some books are so beautiful that one's reading pace is slowed to make the pleasure last the longer. One such book, The Broken Road, stands alone from the rest of Patrick Leigh Fermor's work, and Paddy hesitated to finish it not slowed by pleasure but by the enormity of working with seven decades of memory. Paddy's other work I have read often, at least twice, given to pausing by the sheer density of the material. This book is different. The scholarship, the elegant turn of phrase, the crafted ...more
Lyn Elliott
May 17, 2015 Lyn Elliott rated it really liked it
A wonderfully interesting compilation of Fermor's carefully crafted memoir of this last section of his great walk, together with extracts from one of his surviving daily journals and introduced brilliantly by editors Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper.
I preferred his journal entries: more direct, much less overwriting and capturing moments with shining intensity. Perhaps it is that these cover the time when he was visiting monasteries on Mount Athos, where the detailed record builds to give an unf
And so it ends - after reading A time of gifts, and Between the woods and the water, it was with some sadness that I finally finished this, the third and last instalment describing Fermor's 1934 walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople.

Fermor famously spent many years honing the prose for this magisterial trilogy, with - almost as famously - writer's block allegedly stopping him from finishing this third and final instalment. So what we have here is a blessing, and a very interesting insi
Transported me to a place and time that is no longer possible to visit anywhere else but in works such as this. Patrick Leigh-Fermor is the master. The chapter Dancing By The Black Sea is as good as anything he ever wrote. I could hear the music, see the dancers feel time stand still with Paddy as the Mangas-inspired fisherman danced rebitiko. It was with a deep sense of loss that I closed the book after reading the last page; no more new PLF to experience. Let the re-reading commence.
S.P. Moss
Feb 14, 2014 S.P. Moss rated it really liked it
The road in the title is that taken by Patrick Leigh Fermor in the third leg of his ‘Great Trudge’ made as a young man in the 1930s. His travels take him from the Iron Gates and through Bulgaria, with a diversion back into Romania and Bucharest, then onwards along the coast of the Black Sea. The road breaks – in a literary sense – somewhere just before Constantinople/Istanbul, and is resumed with a tour of Mount Athos.

The book is classic Patrick Leigh Fermor, describing a polymath’s perambulatio
the third in fermor's famous trilogy of walking from uk to turkey in 1933-35. though he actually wrote most of this 3rd one first (see the fascinating introduction by colin thubron and artemis cooper) and this portion of his walk, bulgaria, rumania (north to north moldavia?), back to bulgaria, finally finally to 'istambul", then to the 'holy mountain' athos in greece for an extended stay in many of the monasteries there (this taken from his only surviving journal, not the actual book he was ...more
Carey Combe
Nov 28, 2013 Carey Combe rated it really liked it
So good to have the final book and, although not as polished as the first two, was a joy to read
Aug 28, 2014 Jarvo rated it it was amazing
Do you ever hear of something and think 'I wish I could of done that?' I had exactly such a moment when I first heard of Patrick Leigh Fermor, and it has lived with me ever since. In 1933 at the age of 18 he set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. Many years later he wrote about his experiences, first in A Time of Gifts (1977), then in Between the Woods and the Water (1986) which took his journey to the Bulgarian border. And then a long silence, for Leigh Fermor was a ...more
Who doesn’t turn their head from a distance in time of at least ten years, back to their younger years, to marvel, and maybe to remember, at how the freshly bubbling optimism of youth can get away with quite so much? As with “A Time Of Gifts” and “Between The Woods And The Water”, this final volume in the saga of the nomad within a youngster named Patrick doesn’t disappoint.

This time I avoided too much looking at the first sketch map (facing pg. 1) of PLF’s latest journey – until that is I reac
Apr 15, 2014 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel
This is the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's account of his journey on foot from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. When he started this trek in 1933 he was just short of his 18th birthday. He kept detailed journals and completed books one and two in 1977 and in 1986. However he died before completing the third. Using his notes and diaries, his friend, Artemis Cooper, and travel writer, Colin Thubron were able to finish it. It is a fascinating portrait of the years before the outbreak ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The final installment of his trilogy recounting his daring walk across Europe! Great read to get the sense of Europe in the early 1930's. From Amazon:In the winter of 1933, eighteen-year-old Patrick (“Paddy”) Leigh Fermor set out on a walk across Europe, starting in Holland and ending in Constantinople, a trip that took him almost a year. Decades later, Leigh Fermor told the story of that life-changing journey in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, two books now celebrated as ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book in the trilogy begun with A Time of Gifts and continued with Between the Woods and the Water, this was edited together from notes and drafts for publication after Leigh Fermor's death. It's full of beautifully written set pieces, memorably for example a meditation on Greek dancing seen in a cave on a stormy night; but there are also charming accounts of chance acquaintanceships, descriptions of towns and cities in Bulgaria and Romania; a tender romantic interlude near the ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
Mar 28, 2014 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
“One is only sometimes warned, when these processes begin, of their crucial importance: that certain poems, paintings, kinds of music, books, or ideas are going to change everything, or that one is going to fall in love or become friends for life; the many lengthening strands, in fact, which, plaited together, compose a lifetime. One should be able to detect the muffled bang of the starter’s gun.”

Though it’s the posthumous and third volume of Fermor’s trilogy begun with A Time of Gifts, this boo
Niall Fitzpatrick
Mar 01, 2015 Niall Fitzpatrick rated it really liked it
It's been over two decades since I read his second memoir of the London to Istanbul tramp across the patchwork cultures of central Europe but the disappointment upon finding he hadn't published the concluding third part never left me so I was thrilled when I learned that a sizable part of that remaining journey was now available. It is incomplete but at least we get to move on from the Iron Gates. Hopefully someday notes from the missing parts may yet surface although I do wonder if perhaps it ...more
The final, incomplete installment of one of the great journeys recorded in print. The parts that were completed are stunning, on par with the best parts of A Time of Gifts, which makes it such a damn shame Fermor wasn't able to polish the ending. But most poignantly, it's a final look at the Balkans in the old days before their eventual obliteration in World War II and under the bootheel of Stalinism, largely written well after the war, with an eye for nostalgia. Like with the writings of Gregor ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
Finally after waiting over 30 years the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor great three volume epic of his walking from Belgium to Istambul in 1933-4. Not as good as the other two volumes which the author had polished to his satisfaction. The last volume was held back by writers block or maybe publishing block. It was pieced together after his death from his manuscripts and old versions of the story. So not as gripping as Time of Gifts or Between Woods and Waters but still a great read.
Oct 22, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
The third book describing his youthful journey across pre-war Europe. Fermor actually began this volume before the others but never completed it. The text is assembled from a manuscript and a surviving diary by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper. While the writing occasionally lacks the polish of the other two volumes, the story never lacks interest, and the text gives an insight into the author's methods of composition.
Jul 28, 2015 Hugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This conclusion to the three part saga of Fermor's epic walk across Europe forms a fitting tribute to the late writer. Like the previous two parts (A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water) it is an entertaining mixture of picaresque adventure and erudite travelogue. Although the book was incomplete at the time of Fermor's death, what remains is in keeping with the earlier books.
sun surfer
Jun 30, 2015 sun surfer rated it it was amazing
Posthumously salvaged from drafts and notes, this final section of Fermor's trek may lack the indefatigable perfectionist finesse of the other two but still often contains the sparkle of literary genius.
Malcolm Pinch
Jan 07, 2015 Malcolm Pinch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A long wait to finish P.L.F.s trilogy - but worth. Think I enjoyed this book most of the three - perhaps his ending up in Greece has something to do with that.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure
  • Walking the Woods and the Water: In  Patrick Leigh Fermor's footsteps from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn
  • The Way of the World
  • Love and War in the Apennines
  • A Visit to Don Otavio
  • An Armenian Sketchbook
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
  • The Fault Line: Traveling the Other Europe, From Finland to Ukraine
  • News From Tartary
  • Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
  • Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere
  • Danube
  • Eothen
  • South from Granada: A Sojourn in Southern Spain
  • Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China
  • Walking Home: A Poet's Journey
  • Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus
Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor DSO OBE was a British author and soldier, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Battle of Crete during World War II. He was widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer".
More about Patrick Leigh Fermor...

Other Books in the Series

Trilogy (3 books)
  • A Time of Gifts
  • Between the Woods and the Water

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“A shadow appeared on the awnings further up the land, gliding across each rectangle of canvas towards my table, sinking in the sag, rising again at the edge, and moving on to the next with a flicker of dislocation, then gliding onwards. As it crossed the stripe of sunlight between two awnings, it threaded the crimson beak of a stork through the air, a few inches above the gap; then came a long white neck, the swell of snowy breast feathers and the six-foot motionless span of its white wings and the tips of the black flight feathers upturned and separated as fingers in the lift of the air current. The white belly followed, tapering, and then, trailing behind, the fan of its tail and long parallel legs of crimson lacquer, the toes of each of them closed and streamlined, but the whole shape flattening, when the band of sunlight was crossed, into a two-dimensional shadow once more, enormously displayed across the rectangle of cloth, as distinct and nearly as immobile, so languid was its flight, as an emblematic bird on a sail; then sliding across it and along the nearly still corridor of air between the invisible eaves and the chimneys, dipping along the curl of the lane like a sigh of wonder, and, at last, a furlong away slowly pivoting, at a gradual tilt, out of sight. A bird of passage like the rest of us.” 0 likes
“south of the Danube, by offering a spoonful of sherbet” 0 likes
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