Paul Theroux left Victoria Station on a rainy Saturday in April thinking that taking eight trains across Europe, Eastern Europe, the USSR and Mongolia would be the easy way to get to the Chinese border - the relaxing way, even. He would read a little, take notes, eat regular meals and gaze contentedly out of windows. The reality, of course, was very different. In fact, Theroux experienced a decidedly odd and unexpected trip to China that set the challenging tone for his epic year-long rail journey around that vast, inscrutable land - a journey which involved riding nearly every train in the country. 'Wry, humorful and occasionally querulous...as Theroux makes excruciatingly clear, travelling alone in the Middle Kingdom is not for the faint of heart or stomach' - "Time".