It's An Old Story - Conflict in Central Asia
by Chris Vroom
The current quagmire in Afganistan and Pakistan was preceded by an epic struggle between Russia and Great Britain for supremacy in Central Asia. This "Great Game" pitted spy against spy, saw outlandish plots undercovered (one rumor intended to incite Indian Muslims against British rule during World War I purported that Kaiser Wilhelm and the German people had converted en masse).
Peter Hopkirk's books read like John Buchan novels but they relate incidents from the not-to-distant past that will leave you thinking that we could learn from prior lessons.
The fourth book, by Fa-hsien, is an ancient account of travels to early Buddhist kingdoms.