Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron set off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to the borders of Burma. He travelled through the wind-swept wastes of the Gobi desert and finished at the far end of the Great Wall.
What Thubron reveals is an astonishing diversity, a land whose still unmeasured resources strain to meet an awesome demand, and an ancient people still reeling from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.
"An achievement of great and lasting brilliance"
"This transcendentally gifted writer is, of course, one of the two or three best living travel writers"
"A travel book which tells us more about this strange, sometimes terrible region and its people than a library of more pretentious works"
"An intrepid traveller, who also writes beautifully, with wit and erudition... The result is a rare first-hand account of a country seen through the eyes of one who has experienced what he describes and who is in a position to understand what he sees... He penetrates where most would believe it is impossible for a foreigner to go"