The writer was 96 years old; most of us won’t enjoy such a long tenure on this world. Everyone should read his account of walking across Europe during the interval between the two 20th century World Wars:
The sequel is also well worth reading:
These stories incubated in Fermor’s mind for decades before he actually wrote them.
Here’s a quote from writer Christopher Hitchens’ tribute to Fermor:
In 1944, with the help of some British special forces and a team of Cretan partisans, he managed to kidnap the commander of the German occupation, Gen. Heinrich Kreipe, and carry him over a long stretch of arduous terrain before loading him into a fast motorboat that sped him to Egypt and British captivity. The humiliation of the German authorities could not have been more complete. Perhaps resenting this, Gen. Kreipe was at first obnoxious and self-pitying, until the moment came when he was being taken over the crest of Mount Ida and a “brilliant dawn” suddenly broke. According to Leigh Fermor’s memoirs:
We were all three lying smoking in silence, when the general, half to himself, slowly said: Vides et ulta stet nive candidum Soracte. [“See how Mount Soracte stands out white with deep snow.”] It was the opening of one of the few Horace odes I knew by heart. I went on reciting where he had broken off. … The general’s blue eyes swiveled away from the mountain top to mine and when I’d finished, after a long silence, he said: “Ach so, Herr Major!” It was very strange. “Ja, Herr General.” As though for a moment the war had ceased to exist. We had both drunk at the same fountains long before, and things were different between us for the rest of our time together.