This constitutes a tribute to the five government spies from the Province of Shensi, in the Middle Kingdom of China, who were sent to locate and negotiate for the author when he was captured by bandits in 1933 and who lost their lives in the process. For this Norwegian engineer, with China's International Relief Organization, has written a colorful, understanding, if sometimes irritated, account of his work in the province to restore irrigation to the famine ridden land and has made the travail of a foreign devil a trouble-shadowed commitment. Between the ""squeeze"", the feud between the plateau and the plains, the enmity of Mrs. Miao's oldest son, the complications which involved the Army, and the jealousy between his workers, Eliassen still had to conquer the Ching (Yellow River) and the many myths and omens that enveloped it. Working against the impossible, against flood and mud, the Big Project was completed and on his return, with the bandits turned Communist, young Miao grabbed him, hid him -- and finally lost him when Eliassen effected an unexpected escape. This is the story of a professional accomplishment that is as worthy as the personal growth in awareness of the many different Chinese with whom he lived, and worked -- and learned to love and admire. In adventure, too, it is not lacking, Photographs.