The Road to Samarcand

Several weeks ago at the library I took a second to peruse the “new” shelf for something to read and the kiddo decided I needed Patrick O’Brian’s The Road to Samarcand. I gotta say, the kid has good taste for a pre-literate being. Although I’m sure this thought makes some of my friends scream in horror, this was the first O’Brian that I had read (and I haven’t even seen Master and Commander).It’s a rollicking good adventure story through a part of the world that I know next to nothing about. The story begins at sea, as I believe all O’Brian books must, but the bulk of it involves a trek through China and Tibet, as a company attempts to get young Derrick, the teenaged son of relatively recently-deceased American missionaries, to a school in Samarcand. The party consists of two of Derrick’s uncles – Sullivan, an old sailor, and The Professor, a British archaeologist, Ross (Sullivan’s hetero life partner), Li Han (the Chinese cook), Olaf (the token viking), Chingiz (the Mongol who is just Derrick’s age), and various other characters along the way. Because this is an adventure book, of course the path is not easy… they get caught up in a feud between two warring factions in western China, escape to Tibet where they meet up with all sorts of other interesting people including some yeti. Naturally they make their escape in the end, but the process is quite a fun and engrossing ride.

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1 Comment

  1. I look forward to reading this. If you have not read POB’s other works I recommend the Aubrey – Maturin series. Start with Master and Commander and work your way through the series. They are truly wonderful.


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