Unfortunately, this book is not comparable with Fleming's other travellogues, but a kind of diary written partly in short note form. Fleming wrote his diary in 1934, when he travelled from Moscow through the Caucasus, along the Turksib and the Transib, and finally through Japanese occupied Manchuria to Beijing. In particular, the last third of the book is a little exhausting to read, since is it not written any longer in full sentences, but only in headlines and abreviations. The best and funniest part of the book are the footnotes, in which the author wittily comments on his own accomplishments when the books was first published twenty years later. Since this diary is certainly a unique document, it is a real pitty that Fleming did not use his notes to develop them into a fully fledged book like One's Company: A Journey to China in 1933 or News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir (Marlboro Travel). Instead, he forgot his notes in a drawer, and when he recovered them, he had lost all the details.
Descibes a journey made to the start point of Fleming's cross China jouney descibed in his masterpiece "News From Tartary". As always he is an engaging writer; however, the book under review consists of his diary notes with very minor editing which at times leads to the reader being unsure who certain characters actually are. Well worth a read.
I love Fleming's books - a window into a long-lost age, and written with stye and a clear love. This book is OK, but its the pretty unedited diary of a journey and so a little difficult to follow, and without the humour and insight of the other books. Not sorry I bought it, but you really have to be a fan of Peter Fleming to enjoy it I think.