In the year of the horsetails (century unknown) 50,000 Asian nomads, called Tugars, sweep through the mountain pass from the great steppes to invade the land of the Drevich, an agricultural people. As town after town falls and with them the Drevich leaders, Bardiya assumes leadership of the bewildered people; he recruits men, and teaches them how to fight the plains horsemen--how to conduct cavalry charges, how to hold a fort against the horsemen, how to shoot the curved bow. And slowly the tide turns against the indomitable nomad marauders. The book, then, is about primitive warfare, particularly all the stratagems used by the Mongols for centuries in their terrifying invasions. Tapsell, an Englishman, knows a great deal about the Mongols' war tactics and about the kind of life led by agriculturalists at that time. It is a classic conflict, and he develops it very well. The language is blunt, excellent for describing action, although it dulls the emotional impact. Nevertheless, this is a book about action, and Tapsell relays that well. And while one is drawn into this account about ancient warfare, one is also aware of the terrible ageless similarities between all warfare. Still, special in its appeal.