A strange book, this -- and complete escape reading (unless the captious will take issue with the fact that the setting is now a battle zone and part of Burma, then -- in the 17th century, the Kingdom of Arakan, Portuguese Asia, a country of perversities and extremes, of Inquisitors and Jesuits, of murder and poison and adultery, of luxury and debauchery). Based on what purports to be contemporary source material and on a voluminous diary, this is the story of the journeys taken by an Augustinian friar, Sebastiao Manrique. Father Manrique stood out in sharp contrast to the lurid background, -- a plain man, resolute and unimaginative, lover of sanity and reason. Collis has selected episodes from his Travels, his trip to the Court at a time when the King was unfriendly to the Portuguese; his attempts to gain converts; his founding of a church; and finally the murder of the King who fell under the influence of black magic. The English edition (and we presume this one) is plentifully illustrated with engravings from various sources which help offset an occasional didacticism on the part of Collis. Of specialized interest to students of the East and to readers seeking an exotic experience.