In 1971, on a routine outing through the Cambodian countryside, the young French ethnologist François Bizot was captured by the Khmer Rouge. Accused of being an agent of 'American imperialism', he was chained and imprisoned. His captor, Douch - later responsible for tens of thousands of deaths - interrogated him at length; after three months of torturous deliberation, during which his every word was weighed and his life hung in the balance, he was released. Four years later, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. François Bizot became the official intermediary between the ruthless conqueror and the terrified refugees behind the gate of the French embassy: a ringside seat to one of history's most appalling genocides. Written thirty years later, François Bizot's memoir of his horrific experiences in the 'killing fields' of Cambodia is, in the words of John le Carré, a'contemporary classic'.