For the Chinese, the Great Wall of China has defined much more than a physical barrier. Over the centuries it has represented a psychological frontier--within it lay the Celestial Kingdom, the compass of all civilization. Beyond lay a barbarian world of chaos and exile.
Stanley Stewart recounts his wanderings halfway across Asia in Frontiers of Heaven. The journey took him from Shanghai to the banks of the Indus, and along the way he encountered the modern Chinese for whom these regions beyond the Wall still hold the same morbid fascination. Today, the great western province of Xinjiang is still a land of exile, the destination of soldiers, reluctant settlers, political prisoners, and disgraced officials.
Whether describing the lost cities of Central Asia, a Buddhist monastery in the shadow of
Tibet, or a love affair in Xi'an, Stewart tells his story with charm and affection.