In the winter of 1875, a young British officer set out across
central Asia on an unofficial mission to investigate the latest
Russian moves in the Great Game. His goal was the mysterious
Central Asian city of Khiva, closed to all European travellers by
the Russians following their seizure of it two years earlier. His
aim was to discover whether this remote and dangerous oasis could
be used as a springboard for an invasion of India. An immediate
bestseller when first published in 1877, Burnaby s delight in a
life of risk and adventure still burns through the pages, as does
his spontaneous affection for the Cossack troopers and Tartar,
Khirgiz and Turkoman tribesmen that he encounters on his way.
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