A wild, spellbinding loop-the-loop of a life by a man whom The Guinness Book of World Records calls ""the world's greatest living explorer."" Fiennes (To the Ends of the Earth) was born during the London Blitz, and the fireworks never stopped. He was raised in South Africa, where he watched a friend go mad from a witch doctor's curse; attended Eton, where he became a stegophiliac (addicted to climbing buildings at night); served in the Royal Scots Greys and the S.A.S.--until he smashed his military career by blowing up the Dr. Doolittle movie set; wound up in Oman, where he was attacked by giant spiders and Arab insurgents. Now primed for action (""I find it difficult to live from day to day without the knowledge that a serious challenge is in the offering""), Fiennes decided to make his living from expeditions. He parachuted onto the Norwegian icecap, snaked down 4000 miles of river from the Yukon to the US border, and finally executed his masterpiece--the three-year Transglobe Expedition, encircling the earth along the Greenwich Meridian, traversing both North and South Poles. Fiennes recounts these dizzying adventures in tense, rapid, forceful prose, as if writing his own story were another test of mettle. He passes, coming off as compulsive, courageous, ingenious--and quite likable, thanks in part to his rough self-appraisals, especially in regard to his stormy marriage to Virginia Pepper. Fiennes once auditioned for the film role of James Bond, but lost out to Roger Moore. Just as well--this is as thrilling as Fleming, and it's all true.