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Setting the East Ablaze:
Amid the sand and rock of Central Asia, Russia and England spent much of the 19th century playing what historians have come to call the Great Game: the struggle for control over transcontinental routes from Europe to the Far East. When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, Lenin continued to press Russian--now Soviet--claims to faraway, fabled places such as Samarkand and Hotan. The intrigues of his agents and their British counterparts, swashbucklers all, could come from a modern spy novel, and they make for fascinating reading in Peter Hopkirk's vivid account. [via]