When a man is riding through this desert by night and for some reason he gets separated from his companions and wants to rejoin them, he hears spirit voices talking to him as if they were his companions, sometimes even calling him by name. Often these voices lure him away from the path and he never finds it again, and many travelers have gotten lost and died because of this. Sometimes in the night travelers hear a noise like the clatter of a great company of riders away from the road. . . . Often you fancy you are listening to the strains of many instruments, especially drums, and the clash of arms. For this reason bands of travelers make a point of keeping very close together.
--Marco Polo, Travels (c. 1300), on the Gobi
The author wishes to express his appreciation to CPL, JT, McS's EH and his friend JF.
The words come to him then.
Looking up at him, beautiful, Padma asks: What would it hurt if we tried it?
In his debut novel, Christopher Howard travels to the furthest and rarely seen reaches of the world, Mongolia. Warren is a disaffected Peace Corps volunteer who flees life in late capitalist America to find himself stationed in the post-industrialist urban hell of Mongolia. Needing to find an escape from his escape, Warren seeks solace in 'tsus', the mysterious blood tea that may be the final revenge of the defeated Khans - or that may be only a powerful hallucinogen operating on an uneasy mind - as a phantasmagoria of violence slowly envelops him.… (more)