Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron sets off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to Tibet, starting from a tropical paradise near the Burmese border to the windswept wastes of the Gobi desert and 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" -- Patrick Leigh Fermor
"This transcendentally gifted writer is, of course, one of the two or three best living travel writers" * Independent *
"A travel book which tells us more about this strange, sometimes terrible region and its people than a library of more pretentious works" * Literary Review *
"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" * Spectator *