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The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia

The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia

For nearly a century the two most powerful nations on earth, Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia, fought a secret war in the lonely passes and deserts of Central Asia. Those engaged in this shadowy struggle called it 'The Great Game', a phrase immortalized by Kipling. When play first began the two rival empires lay nearly 2,000 miles apart. By the end, some Russian outposts were within 20 miles of India.

This classic book tells the story of the Great Game through the exploits of the young officers, both British and Russian, who risked their lives playing it. Disguised as holy men or native horse-traders, they mapped secret passes, gathered intelligence and sought the allegiance of powerful khans. Some never returned. The violent repercussions of the Great Game are still convulsing Central Asia today.

Foreword: The New Great Game




Chapter 1. The Yellow Peril

Chapter 2. Napoleonic Nightmare

Chapter 3. Rehearsal for the Great Game

Chapter 4. The Russian Bogy

Chapter 5. All Roads Lead to India

Chapter 6. The First of the Russian Players

Chapter 7. A Strange Tale of Two Dogs

Chapter 8. Death on the Oxus

Chapter 9. The Barometer Falls


Chapter 10. ‘The Great Game’

Chapter 11. Enter ‘Bokhara’ Burnes

Chapter 12. The Greatest Fortress in the World

Chapter 13. The Mysterious Vitkevich

Chapter 14. Hero of Herat

Chapter 15. The Kingmakers

Chapter 16. The Race for Khiva

Chapter 17. The Freeing of the Slaves

Chapter 18. Night of the Long Knives

Chapter 19. Catastrophe

Chapter 20. Massacre in the Passes

Chapter 21. The Last Hours of Conolly and Stoddart

Chapter 22. Half-time


Chapter 23. The Great Russian Advance Begins

Chapter 24. Lion of Tashkent

Chapter 25. Spies Along the Silk Road

Chapter 26. The Feel of Cold Steel Across His Throat

Chapter 27. ‘A Physician from the North’

Chapter 28. Captain Burnaby’s Ride to Khiva

Chapter 29. Bloodbath at the Bala Hissar

Chapter 30. The Last Stand of the Turcomans

Chapter 31. To the Brink of War

Chapter 32. The Railway Race to the East

Chapter 33. Where Three Empires Meet

Chapter 34. Flashpoint in the High Pamirs

Chapter 35. The Race for Chitral

Chapter 36. The Beginning of the End

Chapter 37. End-game