Laszlo Almasy, a Hungarian aristocrat, was consumed by his passion for the Sahara. His forays by car and plane in search of a legendary lost oasis made him an expert in desert travel but also led the British and Italians to each suspect him of spying for the other. On the outbreak of war he worked for Rommel - but was he driven by sympathy for the Nazi cause or by a longing for the desert? Did he eventually become a double agent and later, during the Cold War, a spy for Britain's MI6? And what is the reality behind the contradictory tales of his sexuality?
John Bierman sifts the facts from the fiction to discover the truth behind the life of the real English patient.