A Ride to Khiva. An adventure in Central Asia
Fred Burnaby Eland Published: July 2017 Price: £12.99
If you are fascinated with the Great Game in Central Asia in the 19th century, then you will love this book. It describes the journey of an English army Captain who decided to travel to Khiva, which was closed to Europeans by the Russians at this time, as it was a possible springboard for an invasion of India (which the Russians were keen to accomplish before the British).
Captain Fred Burnaby is six foot four, a brilliant horseman, a crack shot, strong as an ox, and speaks eight languages. In the winter of 1875, braving frostbite and snowdrifts and unbeknownst to his army superiors who would have forbidden it, he set out across Central Asia to investigate the latest secret Russian moves in the Great Game.
This is a wonderful account of travelling at its hardest - for miles through snow drifts with only local guides who knew the way - and they often got lost too.
This is an old-school story of risk and adventure. Sadly on arrival in Khiva, Burnaby was immediately ordered home by an alarmed government. But there is no doubt that the information he learned from his travels would have been of great use at the time.