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Diplomat, Asian scholar, author, calligrapher, polyglot, polymath, passionate lover of life in all its forms, Robert van Gulik researched and wrote prolifically on a diverse range of Asian subjects, such as--but certainly not limited to--Chinese scroll mounting, sexual life in ancient China and the Chinese lute--an instrument that he also mastered as a musician. In addition to his more esoteric writings, van Gulik achieved world-wide popular fame as the author of a series of mystery novels based on the life of semi-fictional Judge Dee in ancient China.

Two former colleagues and close acquaintances of Dr van Gulik have combined their own experiences with recollections of family and other contemporaries, as well as detailed entries in the diaries of the man himself, to provide us with an entertaining and highly readable portrait of a remarkable life.

'This biography is as exciting and abundant as the life of its subject.' Christine Nguyen Thi, Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie, Vol. 15, 1997 (reviewing the French edition).