Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a Baltic aristocrat, a violent, headstrong youth posted to the wilds of Siberia and Mongolia before the First World War. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Baron - w in command of a lethally effective rabble of cavalrymen - conquered Mongolia, the last time in history a country was seized by an army mounted on horses. He was a Kurtz-like figure, slaughtering everyone he suspected of irreligion or of being a Jew. And his is a story that rehearses later horrors in Russia and elsewhere. James Palmer's book is an epic recreation of a forgotten episode and will establish him as a brilliant popular historian.
James Palmer was born in 1981, lives in Beijing and has travelled extensively in East and Central Asia. This is his first book. He brings to it a knowledge of comparative religion as well as a deep fascination with the cultures and history of China and Mongolia.
Shortlisted for John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize 2008.