A history of the 7,000-mile trade route that developed between China and Byzantium for centuries is dramatized in a handsome picture book for older readers that combines a general overview with an account of one typical journey around A.D. 700. The paintings are filled with action, reflecting the diversity of places and cultures and people that were connected when the great silk trade flourished. The problem is that there's so much history to be explained that the narrative is dense and hard to read. A clear, colorful map does help, and the book has detailed notes at the back on everything from warfare to religion. This will get most use as curriculum support material in the middle grades.