An autobiography straight out of the heyday of the British Empire, by Col. Hook, whom 60 Minutes described as ""a relic of the British Empire that no longer exists."" Hook's life has the flavor of a young boy's fantasy--a charming childhood, replete with camping on wild cliffs in Devon, boating, swimming, catching rabbits, mackereling, and hiking through the woods; a schooling in which sport and horsemanship played a major role; a stint in Sandhurst, followed by a commission in india, where days were spent in polo, ""pig-sticking,"" and shooting big game in Kashmir; service as British Military attachÃ‰ in the Sudan, shooting elephants and buffalo; two decades escorting visitors and running safaris in Kenya. Such is the stuff of legend, and Hook has consequently become somewhat of a folk hero ever since, at age 70, he was portrayed in an English TV documentary. Of being faced with service in India, Hook writes that he was ""headed for sport and adventure in the mysterious east. . .immediately before us was the prospect of a Mediterranean cruise, the Suez Canal, and the Indian Ocean."" It is this optimistic quality that-makes this an infectious, if not a totally thorough, memoir (his WW II experiences, for instance, are given short shrift). A best-seller upon its 1987 British publication, this real-life Kiplingesque tale, full of color and danger, should appeal (although perhaps less widely) to American readers as well.