The Kazaks, driven from their Russo-Chinese border pasture lands by oil prospectors, hounded by thirst across great stretches of the Gobi desert area with their huge, diminishing herds, and fired on by oppressive border guards, are all in the realm of the possible with a background that promises high adventure. However, what starts out as solidly grounded fiction ends up way past Cloud 9. Nurman and Nan, two twelve years olds, join the Mongol tribe when it stops at their oasis village in Sinkiang Province. Nurman, an Afghan, had crossed the Old Silk Road with a caravan master who had died. Quickly -- much too quickly-- he rises as boy-leader and travel guide for the venture. Nan, a Chinese orphan, is discovered to be the long lost daughter of the ruler of a dreamlike desert principality where the horde is given hospitality as they press on toward the Tibetan border. Their hazards are many but the day is always saved by Nurman before Nan comes into her own Fantasyland. This is unfortunate, because Mme. Lavolle knows her nomads and has done better fiction.