I fell into the mistake of believing the reviewers' opinions on the back page of the cover and expected tales of derring-do - but written for the thinking adult. However, this book is merely a collection of very superficial biographies of various 19th century Britons who for one reason or another wandered through central Asia. None of the protagonists comes alive. The descriptions of the travels are mostly bare of any enlivening detail. A very humdrum book written in a very humdrum, civil service style. "A ride to Khiva" by Frederick Burnaby is a far better book which brings to life the same times and the same region.