Millions of people will shortly be reading about this refugee camp in the Khmer Republic, but few of them will give it any thought.
Millions of people will shortly be reading about this refugee camp in the Khmer Republic, but few of them will give it any thought. The man responsible for this strange phenomenon will be Gerard De Villiers. He's France's Ian Flemming and, with his companion Mme Alexandra Pouzenc, he's been in Cambodia for ten days gathering material for his latest book.
De Villiers writes spy-thrillers. He's written 34 books to date, all of them centred on a fictional character named Prince Malko Lenge - a sort of European James Bond who trips around the world on assignment to the American C.T.A. In Europe his books sell under the title of "S.A.S." while in the United States, the series title use the word "Malko".
De Villiers' next book will be based on Cambodia. His hero, with a little help form his Friends, will cut a fictional swathe through Phnom-Penh society, stopping occasionally for war-like escapades and frequently for sexual conquests. The eventual aim in the story will be the peaceful deposing of President Lon No 1.
Some of his fans in Phnom-Penh say De Villiers picks real-life characters for his stories, but the he amplifies their faults to make his fictional villians more deserving of their violent ends. That's why the book, to be published in a few months, should sell very well here. Cambodia sees a lot of journalists in any one year, but few writers.
This is Tom Aspell in Phnom-Pehn.