Dr. Liu (lyew), a Chinese merchant who permits six men and a woman, all Europeans, to join his caravan as a means of escaping civil disturbances in Sinkiang Province. He agrees to take them to Shanghai, two thousand miles away. Along the way, two of the party are imprisoned, two are detained as hostages, serious illness befalls another, and a sixth member leaves the caravan to visit Tibet. When Dr. Liu finds himself left with only the beautiful Mme de la Scaze, he tries to make her a prisoner at his sumptuous villa in Lu-chow, but she escapes and makes her way to Shanghai.
Hugo Wildenbruch (VIHL-dehn-brewkh), a young German geologist who is imprisoned by the authorities at Aqsu. He passes his time in prison counting passersby and keeping a journal. He falls ill with tuberculosis and becomes despondent while hoping wildly to return to his native land.
Joachim von Wald
Joachim von Wald (yoh-AH-khihm fon vahlt), a young Austrian geologist who is imprisoned by authorities at Aqsu. High-spirited and hopeful, he enjoys his adventures, becomes enchanted by the Orient, and decides upon arriving in Shanghai to stay in the East.
Serafimov (seh-rah-fih-MOF), a Russian exile, a huge, powerful man. He is held as a hostage at Aqsu. He tires...
(The entire section is 460 words.)