The Silk Road is the fabled route that cuts through one of the most extraordinary tracts of land on this planet. A vast region separating China from the Mediterranean, it rates as one of the least hospitable on Earth - a succession of hostile deserts and towering mountain ranges, a harsh terrain of howling winds, searing heat and blistering cold.
No stranger to unforgiving territory, Nick Middleton follows in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and Marco Polo overland from China to Istanbul, surviving as they did the life-sapping Gobi desert, the icy passes of high altitude Tibet, and the great Steppes of Turkmenistan, and encounters those who eke out existences there today.
Nick's great gift as an adventure writer is to weave together the personal experience of ridiculous endurance - from sleeping on steaming rocks in the middle of a sub-zero desert to eating the most dubiously-cooked local delicacies - with the bigger picture of our planet and its peoples.
Nick Middleton teaches geography at Oxford and is a fellow of St Anne's College. He is a Royal Geographical Society award-winning writer and author of six travel books including Going to Extremes and Surviving Extremes, which looked at the some of the world's least hospitable environments and those who live there and were also filmed for major Channel Four series.