Author(s): Arthur Conolly
The Great Game, a coinage credited to the British officer Arthur Conolly (1807-42), refers to the nineteenth-century rivalry between Britain and Russia as each power sought supremacy in Central Asia. In a climate of tension and suspicion that the Russians might attempt to invade India via Afghanistan, Conolly, returning from sick leave in England, embarked in 1829 on an expedition through the region. His narrative provides observations on the various Asiatic peoples he encountered, including the social, religious and political aspects of their cultures. He describes also the many dangers he had to deal with, requiring him to assume a series of false identities. The risks that Conolly faced were underscored some years later, when he was captured and executed in Bukhara. Volume 1 recounts the first part of his journey, from St Petersburg, through the Caucasus, via Tiflis and Tehran, towards Herat.