An equable, and at all times adaptable, account of a medical installation on the fringe of the Gobi desert where under singular conditions and sometimes impossible circumstances the Spencers- a New Zealand doctor and nurse-conducted their unit. Down the Old Silk Road to Sandan, they arrived to help complete the new hospital, construct beds- and make sheets out of bandages. Their first patient, a young prince, needed an eye operation- and was stitched up with a girl's hair. Medicine here was a real challenge- with undernourishment and venereal disease accounting for much illness; they operated attended by boy nurses of under 15; they created an artificial arm for an amputee out of leather boots; and with Bob away, Barbara had to operate ad lib. The cold, the famine, the dreadful food (wine made from millet and pigeons' droppings), the war- as Sandan fell without a shot, are balanced off by journeys which reveal the beauty of this country and this ancient culture, and the satisfaction of the lives they eased and saved...A pleasant, personal memoir.