Domestic scene:

Sigrid stands in the hallway outside a closed door. She knocks gently, an expression of concern on her face. J answers. “Yes?”

Sigrid peeks around the door. J is midway through Allison Bechdel’s new memoir, Are You My Mother? She’s got her finger marking her place and is looking up expectantly. Sigrid is frowning, clearly pondering something of great import.

“I just want you to know,” Sigrid tells J, “that I am not barraging you with a constant stream of Mongol Queen Facts.”

End scene.

To wit, I am loving The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. I will share with you, Gentle Reader, one snippet of fact. Alaqai Beki, Genghis Khan’s daughter, was sent at the age of seventeen to marry the leader of the Onggud. The Onggud occupied the borderlands north of Yuan China and south of the Gobi. Genghis Khan needed the Onggud if he was to successfully attack China.

The Great Khan did not send his army. He sent his teenage daughter. She was to conquer northern China for her father. Without an army. By herself.

She did it.


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