About the Cover

An email from an early reader asked about the dervish on the cover. Yes, the character could easily be a Persian or any one of many Turko-nomadic people inhabiting the Middle East and central Asia. This is due to the fact that trade and travel were highly developed and frequent among those regions for many centuries. But, according to the illustrator who drew this picture, he was depicting a Siberian Bashkir. Most of the modern-day Bashkirs live in the Republic of Bashkortostan (a.k.a. Bashkiria). Bashkirs are close ethnic and geographical neighbors of the Volga Bulgars (improperly named Tatars); Bashkirs and Tatars are the second-most-populous ethnic group in the Russian Federation. (The first is Russians, if you’re curious.) ...

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