Chris Alexander originally travelled to Khiva, a remote walled city in Uzbekistan on the route of the ancient Silk Road, to write a guidebook. But he stayed, mesmerized by a world of silk and forgotten 15th-century carpet designs discovering indigo blue, madder red, pomegranate gold and the subtle shades of life in a desert oasis. Alexanders entrancing travelogue sees him stripped naked at a former Soviet youth camp, crawling through silkworm droppings, tackling a carpet-thieving mayor, distinguishing natural dyes from sacks of opium in Northern Afghanistan, bluffing his way through My Heart Will Go On for Uzbek TV and seeking sanctuary as an anti-Western riot consumed the Kabul carpet bazaar. The result is an unforgettable true story of a journey to the heart of the unknown.

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