Saturday, 15 January 2011

Guest Post from Dori Jones Yang, author of Daughter of Xanadu

Today, I am very happy to welcome Dori Jones Yang to the blog, the author of the newly released YA historical Daughter of Xanadu. I haven't managed to get hold of a copy yet because it's not available in the UK but it's been on my TBR list for a while now and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I hope you enjoy finding out more about Daughter of Xanadu as much as I did!

Here is the link to Daughter of Xanadu's Goodreads page.

 Welcome Dori! :

Hi, Stephanie and friends! Greetings from Seattle.
The powerful and beautiful cover!

January 11 was a big day for me, the publication, by Random House, of my YA historical novel, Daughter of Xanadu. This is a book straight from my heart, and I worked on it for almost ten years. The story-behind-the-story is one of persistence, revision, reimagining, and more persistence. I got knocked down several times, stood back up, stuck to my dreams, and this beautiful book is the happy result. Hope you'll stick to the pursuit of your dreams, too!

Daughter of Xanadu is an adventure story about a 16-year-old girl, eldest granddaughter of the Great Khubilai Khan, who is eager to become the first woman to join the Mongol Army. She gets distracted when she meets a man from a distant, backward land: Marco Polo. Because of him, she begins to see her world from a new perspective. Like many of us today, she has to juggle family expectations, personal ambition, and the desires of her heart.
This novel has an unusual setting: the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. I chose this era because of my interest in Marco Polo, who was the first European to write about China. When he got there in 1275, Khubilai Khan was ruling the largest empire in history from a magnificent palace, wearing robes made of cloth of gold and drinking mare's milk from golden goblets. In just two generations, the Mongols had risen to this lavish lifestyle from their traditional nomadic ways as herders and raiders, living in tents. We think of the Mongols as barbarians, but after they conquered much of the world, they established peace over many lands. That peace allowed Europeans, including Marco Polo, to travel all the way to China and back for the first time. What they learned in China helped prepare Europe to surge ahead.
Researching the Mongol era was fascinating for me. I read a lot of old books, including the ultimate source book, The Secret History of the Mongols. The most fun was traveling to Mongolia, where I stayed in a ger (yurt), drank fermented mare's milk, rode camels, and watched Mongolia's national games of horse racing, archery, and wrestling. I also managed to locate the ruins of Xanadu, site of Khubilai Khan's summer palace ' an off-the-beaten-track discovery.

I hope you'll enjoy Daughter of Xanadu. It's available in North America only right now, but my agent is working on getting a UK publisher. To find out more about the book, please visit me at Thanks!

P.S. I love that 2011 YA Historical Fiction Challenge. Go for it!

Thank you Dori! Daughter of Xanadu would be perfect for participants of the YA Historical Fiction Challenge. The Mongol Empire setting sounds really fascinating, it and I think the originality of the setting will really appeal to fans of historical fiction.

If you're interested in Daughter of Xanadu, be sure to visit Dori's website HERE to find out more and I also really recommend that you take a look at the book's fantastic trailer HERE!

*Apologies for some earlier spelling mistakes- now corrected!


  1. You will love the book! Dori will be stopping by my blog next week and telling more about the research she did for this book. The book is full of romance, adventure, battles, and even dragons (really crocodiles, but that's what they call them!) A very fun book and you learn lots of interesting things about the Mongols.

  2. Loved the guest post! Oh, and I can't wait to read Daughters of Xanadu as well!


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