The legendary cities of Turkestan - Merv, Khiva, Bokhara and Samarkand - have long exerted a romantic fascination upon Western travellers. During the last century, men of many nationalities have played what they and their contemporaries have called "The Great Game" - travelling throughout Central Asia. The author revives memories of the agents and travellers - official and unofficial, military and civilian - who have visited the Khanates of Turkestan, relating their adventures and attempting to recreate the atmosphere and flavour of the region. Extremely well written, Fitzroy Maclean captures a way of life that is fast disappearing.
Sir Fitzroy Hew Royle Maclean of Dunconnel, 1st Baronet KT CBE (1911-1996) was a Scottish soldier, writer and politician. He was a Unionist MP from 1959 to 1974 and was one of few people who entered World War II as a private and left having risen to the rank of Brigadier. Maclean wrote several books, including Eastern Approaches, in which he recounted three extraordinary series of adventures: travelling, often incognito, in Soviet Central Asia; fighting in the Western Desert Campaign, where he specialized in commando raids behind enemy lines; and living rough with Tito and his Yugoslav Partisans. It has been speculated that Ian Fleming used Maclean as one of his inspirations for James Bond.