My stories of the Mongol Empire are backstory to the present day. They illuminate the modern period by telling us how things came to be the way that they are. It is a comfort to know the past, for it eases the anxiety of the present age.

It took me twenty years to dig out the stories of the successors of Genghis Khan. I was like an archaeologist discovering pieces of antiquities and piecing them together to form a whole. It took time. The characters and their deeds were amazing and compelling.

Each of my volumes is a portrait of a principal character. The stories concern heroes of their time: the man who saved Chinese civilization, the most remarkable woman of the age, the Khan who conquered Russia, and the Khan who brought down the twin power centers of the Muslims in the Middle East. Perhaps the most intriguing of these stories is the obsession of Khubilai Khan who late in life, decided to conquer Japan by sea. The digging for the stories was not easy. This is why the stories have not been told, because of historical bias.

In the histories and chronicles left by the civilized countries, the Mongols are called barbarians, even though they had an aristocratic nomad culture based on the horse.

The chroniclers and historians--Chinese, Russian, Armenian, Persian, Arab, Japanese, Hungarian--gave the Mongol Empire the worst press in history. The authors had an unfair advantage. They had the skills to create a written record. The Mongols had only had a written language for twenty years at the time of the conquests. They knew nothing of the writing of history. Their story was told in the languages of their enemies. It has taken many centuries to tell the story from the other side. There has been a silence, which is why these stories are new. This is why I entered the world of Marco Polo. It is relevant to modern times.

These are stories about the competition for power at the top of the Mongol world. These power struggles had an effect on global history, for if the branch of the Mongol imperial house that was removed from the throne had remained, there would have been a new campaign in Europe and Europe would not have won. We live with this history today.

As I am fond of saying, this is Game of Thrones, only for real. Welcome to the world of Marco Polo, part 2.