The genuine traveler as against the general tourist speaks up in this book about fastnesses and peoples at a remove from modern civilization. Patrick Fermor takes up his travels in Alexandroupolis, which a young civil servant would consider Thracian exile, as he trails the Sarakatsana, a people with nothing more solid than their abodes of wicker and rush, who look on Christmas as a private feast of their own. He speculates on their origins so unreckonably remote that they may well be ""the most Greek of Greeks."" He visits the monasteries of the air (at St. Barlaam's, until 1932, the only access was by bucket and winch), where the few remaining monks bemoan parakmi, or monastic decay; expatiates on the Helleno-Romaic dilemma of language and traits. Crete gave his ""retrogressive hankerings their final twist."" At Missolonghi, adventure centering about Lord Byron's shoes awaited. ""Greece is suffering its most dangerous invasion since the time of Xerxes,"" Fermor warns. He himself is an admirable holdout, an amalgam of venturesomeness, in-depth curiosity and the resources to ponder, a wanderer in the Miller-Durrell tradition.