This is merely another of Verne's pseudo travelogues. I feel that I now know the name of every whistle stop of the transcaucasian and transasiatic railroads. Other than the nauseating detail of these myriad stops, there is little substance to this as a novel. The principal character (Claudius Bombarnac), a âspecial correspondentâ for âThe Twentieth Centuryâ (that happens to be a French newspaper) does little more than relate the ennui of this trip and to catalogue the several travelers (the devil's numberâ13âto be exact). However, he lets us into their character bit by bit, chapter by chapter, thereby enticing us to read further in the hope of discovering some hidden agenda. Well, finally we have it! A two-page attack on the transasiatic train. Wait! The attack is merely a prelude to another attack of three pages during which the real hero is assumed to meet his demise. But, true to Verne's style, he miraculously escapes harm only to end up in serious difficulty. Worry not! Verne rescues him and all is well at the end. This book of 162 pages would make quite a short story of no more than 10. Unless you are a bibliophile of Verne, there is no redeeming value to reading this book.