The Khyber Pass, Kabul, ``Bokhara'' Burns--these are storied names and places in what Rudyard Kipling dubbed ``the great game.'' The struggle for control of the gateway to the heart of Asia preoccupied both Russia and Britian in the 19th century, but the massive tragedy at Kabul (Britain's single greatest setback in Victoria's reign), was a reminder that there were other players in the game, too. Waller provides a splendid re-creation of the First Afghan War, told with verve and flair; he knows the terrain (and the relevant sources) at first hand. Exciting, gripping reading, this is also a solid addition to the literature on the British in India and Afghanistan. For general readers as well as specialists.-- James Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.