The main story line is about a mountain climbing expedition intersecting destiny with an escaping Buddhist nun named Kelsang. Merely telling this story would have been interesting enough, but the author goes through many interesting and worthwhile detours to add to the overall mood of the story and the book. There are valuable historical chunks, like the British involvement in Tibet and how they hired spies to map out vast regions of Tibet. There are a lot of chunks about Chinese communism and Tibet as well. The narrative style is the kind that I like, with no overt judgments being made, but instead describing many revealing events in enough detail to feel one is living there, and letting the reader draw his or her own conclusions. There is, for instance, a section on Cordyceps which was called "soft gold" because it was so valuable, and was abundant enough to be a Tibetan natural resource, with many Tibetan towns going from subsistence living to prosperity through it. There are enough descriptions of Tibetan religious life, too, to get a feeling for how Tibetan Buddhism is lived. The author quotes enough source material to indicate that he is well read on the subject. The backdrop of Buddhist quotes counterpoints the drama of the escape and how the nun got shot while escaping. All in all, a very good narrative, a hidden book on history and current events, and an indirect sharing about the life of Tibetan Buddhists in a country sometimes oppressed by a foreign political power.