Fifty years ago, the Middle East was sitting on a vast, barely-tapped resource: oil - black gold. A small army of men was assigned to prospect for the black stuff and sent out into the deserts of of Oman, Libya, Iraq and Iran. It was an 'invasion' that would transform nations and bring seismic political change to the region. Armed with a Winchester .22, a BSc from the University of Wales and a zest for living life to the full, Gerry Staley pitched his tent in the Empty Quarter. There he worked hard, travelled widely and became acquainted with rascals, countrymen and the occasional wicked woman. Life as an oilfield surveyor was tough. Snakes, quicksand, trigger-happy locals, not to mention the attentions of the KGB, were enough to keep him on his toes... or in his Land Rover!