This volume incorporates, in shorter form, three of Freya Stark's previous books which were published individually in England: Traveller's Prelude, Beyond Euphrates, and The Coast of Incense. And there is humor, eclat and elegance- as well as an almost childlike delight in small things that qualifies these accounts as belles lettres as well as travel writing which is personalized and occasionally tinted. Readers who have come to look upon Freya Stark as the dean of women travellers, and an authority on the Orient and Arabia, will be interested in the first two thirds of the book which traces the impetus in both her ancestry and her more immediate home environment which gave rise to her desire to push the horizon back. Her vignettes on the notables of the international art world, on crowned heads and potentates of the east, are all perceptive and footnote her footloose experiences with warmth and humor and an interest in people as well as places. And there's an exotic cast to most of it.