It is 1289, and Kubilai Khan rules the largest empire the world has ever known.
A man of driving ambition, the Venetian merchant Vincente Montefoschi prepares to lead a caravan on the perilous journey from Lesser Armenia to Peking, capital of the great Khan's empire. Spurred by hopes of Kubilai's conversion to Christianity, the Armenian King Hethum II lends his patronage to Montefoschi's mission, sending with him to China a supremely gifted illuminator to win the Mongol emperor to the True Faith.
Here the journey east is one of extremes: extremes of climate, of terrain and of passion.
Individual questsÑfor glory, pleasure, love and dominationÑgive rise to suspicion and hostility among the travelers. As the caravan crosses land rumored to be governed by spirits, reality yields to myth and illusion and the main characters are forced to confront their own demons or be consumed.
Author Biography: Daniel Arsand, became a publisher after a career in bookselling. A distinguished man of letters, he did not start writing fiction until he was past 40. A collection of his short stories appeared in 1996. This, his first novel, was shortlisted for prestigious literary prizes.