Friday, February 13, 2015

Mongolian Safari: Guest Post by Author Pamela Boles Eglinski

It was six o’clock in the morning when my guide and driver picked me up at my brother’s home in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. Tanks were in the streets, blocking access to Sükbataar Square—the center of the city. The night before we’d witnessed a street battle between the “old guard” Soviets and the new Democrats. Six men died and six-hundred were shipped off to jail—all protesters of the rigged parliamentary election of the day before.

We skirted the city, making our way to Khentii province and the homeland of Genghis Khan. I was on safari, a mission to understand the soul of Mongolia and the one-time ruler of the known world. My quest would take me hundreds of miles across the legendary Mongolian steppe and deep into the Great Taboo Area.

Within an hour we’d reached the colossal equestrian statue of the great Khan—a newly erected one-hundred and thirty foot steel giant holding a golden whip—a whip that pointed toward his homeland, a day’s journey away.

We stepped out of the SUV to take a few pictures. Turning back toward the car I heard a train rumble down the tracks, just below the highway. It was the historic Trans-Siberian railway, with passengers traveling to and from St. Petersburg. It reminded me of the Stalinist era, when trains linked Mongolia to the oppressive Soviet state and the man who forbade travel to the spiritual center of the country—the Almsgiver’s Wall—holy ground for Mongolians and perhaps the resting place of the great Khan.

Now, free of Stalin, visitors and scholars are able to explore the land of Genghis’ birth, where he came to be a man and where he gathered his first army—an army which ultimately conquered the known world. I took a deep breath. This was more than a research trip for my novel, it was a journey to the heart of a nation and its spiritual power center.
She Rides with Genghis Khan weaves fact with fiction similar to the way Dan Brown presented The da Vinci Code. But She Rides is uniquely Asian, esoteric, and exotic. Research took me to the homeland of Genghis Khan, to ancient Buddhist scriptures, and The Secret History of the Mongols. I grappled with Buddhist wish-fulfilling jewels, and the Wind Horse—a shaman’s passage to the Blue Sky Heaven and an allegory for the human soul.

My journey began as an exploration into the heart and soul of a nation, and concluded with a novel rich in Buddhist lore, a caravan across the ancient Silk Road, and a supernatural ride with Genghis Khan.

Come, feel the wind in your hair and the spirit of a nation in your heart. Enjoy the wild ride as you dip into a novel rich in imagery and history—a story never before told.

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