A Journey to PerditionIn 1298 a caravan travels from Turkey to Peking, to meet the Kublai Khan. They overcome the frozen heights of the Pamir mountains and the unrelenting heat of the Gobi desert. Many are the towns they visit on the way and the people they meet. It is a fascinating travelogue along the old Silk Road, through regions barely known even today.The leader of the caravan is the Venetian merchant Montefoschi. He is accompanied by the monk Vartan, an illustrator of religious books, and the thief Hovsep. Later, he is joined by Arnaud de Roanne, the healer, and, towards the end, by Jebe, the Mongol warrior.The main thrust of the book is not the travelogue, but the men who make up the caravan. The author digs into their innermost lives, turning them inside out to get hold of their dreams and their aspirations - and how they play against actual life during this voyage. These are all condemned men.I would say that this is very much a French book, examining the psychology of the main characters against the backdrop of actual occurrence. It is a challenging book, well worth reading.
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