This is a strangely contradictory book. It is a story of the reign of Tiberius, of Roman adventurers seeking vast riches in fabled China, of an incredible voyage, a mutiny and a storm, of a march across the Gobi desert, and of the achievements of their aim in China where they found a civilization far beyond their own. And specifically it is the story of their leader, Simon of Cyrene, a mercenary soldier and bandit, with one true love in his life and a great faith. His ultimate victory, and reunion with his red-haired maiden, leads on to a pilgrimage to seek out the Teacher of Galilee, only to arrive in time to witness the march to Golgotha and for Simon to carry his Master's cross. The story is told, now lush with extravagant detail, now in true spirit of adventure, now in a spirit of fantasy, then with streamlined classicism with 20th century trappings impinging on first century settings. Interesting but not wholly successful.