Broken Gods Historical Notes and Bibliography

Although Broken Gods is a work of fiction, in the writing of this novel we tried to keep as closely to historical fact as we could.

The named historical figures, Emperor Baldwin (also spelled Baudoin) of the Latin Empire of Constantinople (yes, he really did mortgage his son to the Venetians for money), Hulegu Khan, son of Genghis Khan (yes, he really did defeat the citadel of the Assassins), Kit-Buqa (also spelled Ked-Buga, etc), and Sultan Kutuz (also spelled Qutuz, etc., and yes, he really was assassinated soon after his victory by his lieutenant, Baybars [also spelled Baibars, etc.]) were real people, and where possible, we have used their words and actions as recorded by historians.

The Mongols really were defeated by the Saracens in a battle in the Jezreel valley between Nazareth and Megiddo (famous in Revelations as Armageddon). This battle fought on Friday, September 3, 1260 is usually called the Battle of Ayn Jalut (or ‘Goliath’s Well.’) The explanations we read for the name of the battle were never very convincing. At some point when the name of the battle was decided on, somebody believed that a well in the vicinity had something to do with Goliath, of David and Goliath fame (millennia earlier). However, the local well is now called Ein Harod, or Herod’s Well, so that’s the name we went with.

The Mongols really did have better military organization and communications than any of their opponents. Debates still rage as to why the Mamluks (also spelled Mamelukes) were able to defeat them. Most scholars come down on the side of ‘stony soil in Syria’ which could not feed the Mongols’ many horses. Or the idea that the Mamluk army was specially trained and equipped to fight the Mongols. Our theory is that there just weren’t enough real Mongols at that battle.

And attar of roses really does sell for more than gold, even today.

Partial Bibliography for Broken Gods

Because Broken Gods is part of a series, we built upon the research we’d done for earlier volumes in The House of the Rose.


The Chronicles of London  (Andrew Saint and Gillian Darley. St. Martins Press, NY, 1994)

The Internet Medieval Sourcebook (at Fordham University:

The Paston Letters: A Selection in Modern Spelling (Oxford World’s Classics) (ed. Norman Davies. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1983)


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