Born in the industrial north of England in the post-war era of austerity and ration books, I earned my passport away from the back streets with a grammar school scholarship and a professional qualification. Then came the usual struggle involving hard work, risk, disappointment, achievement and adjustment, in my case culminating in an unexpected rags-to-riches story.

I became a successful businessman, travelling the world and providing financial expertise for complex deals of corporate acquisitions and mergers. As a company director on four continents I was also responsible for overseeing the operations of our high-tech operating subsidiaries. But at the age of 42 I turned my back on the financial rewards of the business world to write a spiritual book.

First came the years in the wilderness, or more correctly, years living in relative seclusion on the edge of a lake. My career had taken me to coffee plantations in the West Indies, a steel mill in the jungles of Central America, the Stock Exchange in London, The Pentagon in Washington, and large computer installations in a score of countries. Now my journey became one of self-discovery. Months spent restoring a neglected piece of Cumbrian woodland were interspersed with foreign trips: white-water rafting on the Zambezi; attending the Ceremony of the Tooth in Sri Lanka; seeing the living goddess Kumari in Kathmandu. I joined two local Buddhist groups and had a short poem entitled Full Moon published in a Buddhist magazine. Then I began to write the book that feels like my life's work.

I first read Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine when I was still in my teens, and throughout my business years her unified concept of spiritual and physical evolution made more and more sense. It brought together philosophical and spiritual teachings from around the world, and Blavatsky claimed that most modern religions had a common source. The Secret Doctrine is dense, almost impenetrable, prose writing covering fifteen hundred pages with small print. The ideas within could do much to dispel the ignorance behind our abuse of the planet, its resources and its inhabitants, but very few people take the trouble to read it. I set out to re-package Blavatsky's ideas in a form which anyone could understand.

After O Lanoo! was published I emerged from lakeside seclusion to give talks to the Theosophical Society on the essential elements of theosophy: the unity of mankind; the workings of karma; the immortality of the human spirit; creation and evolution; and the relationship between space, matter and time. And I spent seven years working on a practical example of responsible unity: community-owned wind farms providing clean energy without draining the earth's resources or contaminating our children's future.

Given the opportunity we would all like to make a difference. I hope that O Lanoo! will make a difference ~ that people will read it and accept on some level the concept of unity which will help us move towards a more harmonious future.

Harvey Tordoff

To learn more about the author, you may wish to read some of the articles in the background section.

Harvey at Cowdray Hall, Midhurst, where some of the illustrations are on permanent display
Harvey at Cowdray Hall, Midhurst, where enlarged and framed copies of some of the illustrations are on permanent display