This book has competent research and knowledge, particularly in trade economics, products (early and classic supply and demand), and specific locations. Its great weakness is that it needs to include and/or reference trade route maps. (Many authors give access to maps or reports on a website). As such, one is most often lost in the vast wildness of the Silk Road, and the spatial history is difficult to follow. Disorientation is frequent. The narration is clear and well-paced but lacks any excitement or anticipation; rather, it's like listening to a bland report given to a committee (despite the many riveting battles and events of the many centuries on the Road). That said, the lack of maps is the most glaring sortcoming.