I was born in 1934 in a little lost village near San Cristobel de Torondoy eleven months after my brother. Unlike him, who was astonishingly handsome, I was astonishingly ugly. I was covered in black hair from head to foot like some kind of monkey. For some reason my ear-drums burst within days of my birth. The local doctor told my mother ''This little boy is not going to live, and if he does, he's going to be daft or half-witted''. But against all the hopes of the family, it was my brother who died, and I survived.'This extraordinary novel is based on a true story of a revolutionary who was advisor to Castro, friend of President Salvador Allende, and married to a woman who became one of the leaders of the Kurdish rebellion in Iran. There is a poignancy in his life, forever underlined by the leading roles thrown on him - like hoopla rings at a fair. Code-named Otto, he became an enemy of both the KGB and the CIA and all by chance, by a twist of fate, or by someone else's design. From the mountains of Venezuela, to the streets of Paris, from the heart of Cuba to rain-drenched London, this is a fabulous and picaresque journey of the lives and loves (plenty of those) of an astonishing man.