Thursday, November 27, 2008

The John Sergeant of Crime...

I should have mentioned before now that the excellent Ampersand Agency blog has recently been discussing The Outcast.  And in the process seems to have cast me as the John Sergeant of crime fiction (I imagine that reference will mean very little to any non-UK readers, which is probably their good fortune...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nergui meets Sergeant Trotter

Just to prove that, when it comes to crime fiction in Ulaan Bataar, Nergui isn't quite the only game in town...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The inside of the outside

I won't give away too much, but The Outcast includes among its cast of characters an ethnic Mongolian, born in the 'autonomous region' of Inner Mongolia.  The tension between his ethnic background and his Chinese citizenship is one of the springboards for the book's plot. 

With that fresh in my mind, I was struck by this very interesting article from the Kansas City Star which discusses the increasing dilution of the Mongolian identify in the region.  Wang Huiming, the vice director of the local ethnic affairs commission, states that Inner Mongolia is "recognized by the central government as a model autonomous region" with "very stable" social and political conditions.  On the other hand, one local ethnic Mongolian says: "We used to be the hosts here. Now we feel like the guests in our own land."

Normal service more or less resumed

Apologies to anyone who's tried to visit the Shadow Walker website over the last couple of days.  We seem to have had some (human?) gremlins in the works, but webmeister John O'Malley has now sorted them, and we're more or less back to normal. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Creative anachronism and the Silver Horde

The UB Post publishes another of those stories that make my head spin slightly.  This one concerns Luigi Kapaj, a computer programmer based in New York, who has founded the Silver Horde, a historical reenactment group that focuses exclusively on the Mongol Empire.  He has named himself Gulugjab Tangghudai, or Grand Khaan, in homage to Mongolia’s favorite son.  As the article rightly points out, "few history buffs have realized Chinggis Khaan’s entertainment value".  Not until now, at any rate. 

The Silver Horde is part of the wonderfully-named Society for Creative Anachronism, which is apparently "a global organization that advocates the study and recreation of medieval and Renaissance European cultures and histories".  Kapaj's goal, he says, to "promote knowledge and understanding of the Mongol culture and dispel misapprehensions of Mongolian warriors as barbarians".  Which sounds like a nobel objective for a fascinating enterprise.

I've been rather quiet for the last week or so, ffor a variety of dull reasons, so I hope you'll also forgive my taking this opportunity just to give you a gentle reminder that The Outcast is now out in the UK, available from all half-decent bookstores.  Rather pleasingly, it was J Kingston Pierce's pick of last week in January magazine. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dial M for Mongolia

I was recently interviewed by William Kennedy of the UB Post, the excellent Mongolian English-language newspaper.  Regular visitors here will be familiar with the newspaper, as I frequently post links to items in its on-line version. 

William had been able to obtain The Shadow Walker through the good offices of Peter Weinig of Blue Bandana who, as regular readers will also know, is selling copies of the books through his Seven Summits shop in Ulaan Bataar (William apparently had to obtain a second copy as his first was stolen, which is an intriguing story in its own right...perhaps the seed of a future Nergui book...).  I was very pleased to be interviewed, and you can read the results in William's article available here