Barbara Crossie, a 31-year-old relationship columnist, has been invited by her friend Harry to join a Canadian delegation to China. Barbara’s not sure what she has to contribute, as she’s only just published her first book, but Harry, a publisher of political books, assures her that the trip will be worthwhile. Barbara agrees to go on the condition that they meet up with her agent, Josh, who also happens to be her long-distance lover. Barbara and Josh are at a crossroads, and she needs to find out if they are going to take the next step in their relationship. Although Harry is a little in love with Barbara, he agrees to include Josh. But things go awry from the moment of their arrival, when Josh simply doesn’t appear. Barbara eventually finds out that he did not get on the flight to China but is at his mountain cabin and unreachable. Unsure of how to react, Barbara carries on with her companions, travelling the Silk Road to the ends of the earth and eventually finding herself in the deadliest desert on earth. And that is where she learns how to fit the key words in her personal lexicon together and tell her story. Love, loss and discovery are only part of The Desert Lake.