Leading characters in this novel are “Zhamtso,” head of the Mongolian Scientific Committee; “Andreἴ Makarovich Turanov,” a Russian geographer, “Roy Webster,” leader of an American expedition in the Gobi Desert; and “Nakamura,” a Japanese officer spying in Outer Mongolia. These thinly-disguised names may be penetrated as: Tsyben Zhamtsaranovich Zhamtsarano (1880–1940?), founder of the Mongolian Scientific Committee and its “perpetual secretary”; Eduard Makarovich Murzaev, a prominent Soviet geographer and author of a Stalin Prize-winning physical geography of the Mongolian People's Republic (Outer Mongolia); Roy Chapman Andrews, leader of the Central Asiatic Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, director of the Museum for many years, now living in California; “Nakamura” is not identifiable under this or any other name.

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