Andre and Clara Malraux had the world at their feet. Wealthy and carefree, their life was a bohemian idyll, spent frequenting the hottest clubs and restaurants, travelling and mingling with the Paris literary set. But all this changed when the stock market crashed and their fortune disappeared overnight. Penniless but still craving adventure, Andre dreamt up a plan to travel to French Indochina where they would collect temple treasures and sell them for a huge profit in America. Against all the odds - jungle fevers, inexperience and uncooperative locals - they succeeded. But their treasure hunt turned into a dangerous crusade when Clara and Andre set up an anti-government newspaper in Saigon, defiantly exposing colonial injustices, corruption and the government's stifling of Asian culture. "Silk Roads" is a story of romance and adventure, crime and political awakenings, but it also paints a picture of the volatile relationship between two extraordinary people: Andre - gifted, intense, who would later become one of France's most celebrated literary figures, and Clara - vivacious, independent, but forced to live in her husband's long shadow.
Axel Madsen was a biographer and journalist. Born in Denmark and raised in Paris, he first began writing for the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, where he wrote biographies of Coco Chanel, Billy Wilder, John Jacob Astor and Jacques Cousteau among others. He died in 2007.