Peter Fleming still ranks as my favorite writing traveler, but I must honestly confess that he slips a few cogs with this book, which follows conventional lines more closely (in matters of handling) than one has come to expect of this light-hearted young man. Central Asia is his stamping ground, with Peking as a starting point, with Sinkiang, Kashmir and all sorts of unspellable places en route. There is something of the troubled background of Chinese Turkistan, concretely and indirectly, something of the evasive situation in which neither China nor Russia quite comes to the fore. Rival correspondents, bent on the same game -- Peter Fleming and Ella Maillart (remember Turkistan Solo?) are virtually compelled to join forces, and shared the enormous difficulties and inconveniences and dangers (minimized as always by Fleming) of the seven months trek. Humor -- originality -- spirited story telling characterize this, but there isn't quite the sparkle of the earlier books.