CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN author Louis De Bernieres is devastated after his laptop containing the first 50 pages of his new book was stolen.

The 50-year-old millionaire's computer was stolen from his summer retreat in Diss, Norfolk, England - along with all of his work on forthcoming novel A PARTISAN'S DAUGHTER.

De Bernieres, who is offering a $900 (GBP500) reward for the safe return of his laptop, is disappointed at the prospect of having to start again from scratch.

He says, "I was about 50 pages through the new book and it was going very well.

"I never make disc copies of my work because I am not a computer boffin. I prefer just to do print-outs on paper after each chapter."

22/08/2004 10:38