Gerald Brousseau Gardner (1884-1964) was born in England, but travelled widely from childhood in the care of his nurse to alleviate his asthma: firstly to Europe, later to Ceylon after nurse married an expatriate. As a young man, Gardner worked on tea and rubber plantations in Ceylon and later Borneo and Malaya. From 1923 to 1936, Gardner entered the Civil Service as a customs official and inspector of rubber and opium production. Gardner's time in the Far East facilitated his study of his twin fascinations of native spiritual beliefs and archaeology; it was during this period that he amassed a large collection of Malay weapons, including the keris (now more commonly kris) that led to the publication of this authoritative volume. He also nurtured a keen interest in and knowledge of Malay religion and magic which, on return to England, he diverted to the study of European witchcraft. His subsequent books on witchcraft remain seminal texts on the subject and he is remembered today among many occultists as 'the father of the Wicca movement'.