Duyal, a teenage nomad living on the Russian steppe during the Middle Ages, is captured by Mongol invaders and forced on a deadly journey into Eastern Turkey. Sold to a Kurdish prince, Duyal and his fellow Kipchak tribesmen are slated to become military slaves. Yet before being granted the desired title, “Mamluk,” the recruits must endure a right of passage: brutal training at an Islamic citadel.
In Book One, Chains of Nobility, Duyal and his mates are made to suffer the painful transition from hearty pagan nomads to elite Islamic knights. Presiding at the citadel is a merciless instructor—a man obsessed with purging the weak from his ranks and molding the survivors into Mamluks, cavalrymen unmatched in wielding sword, arrows, and lance from atop Arabian steeds. When Duyal becomes snarled in his instructor’s ploys and his mates witness another comrade’s unjust execution, the recruits can take it no longer. Their wrath is unleashed.
In Book Two, Duyal and his fellow comrades are grown men—Royal Mamluks, freed and promoted—serving the Sultan of Egypt in vicious opposition to King Louis’ Seventh Crusade. Yet once their adored sultan dies, the Mamluks’ world turns upside down. For as they opportunistically snatch rule for themselves, a rivalry between opposing Mamluk regiments turns bloody. And as the newly-formed “Mamluk Sultanate” struggles with a reshuffled set of alliances in the realm, their gravest challenge emerges on the eastern horizon: Mongol hordes hellbent on pillaging the entire Middle East.
In Book Three, the Mamluks face this enemy of their youth—Mongols, who sacked their Kipchak tribes, slew their kin, and stole their native lands more than twenty years prior. At stake for the Mamluks is not just their empire, but Islam itself.
Graft, a former U.S. Marine officer, who served in Somalia, conveys to his characters a genuine understanding of the hearts and minds of warriors. He brings to life the intriguing story behind the namesake of the ceremonial Mamluk Sword, the traditional saber still worn by Marines as part of their dress uniform. Based on thorough research that took the author to Mongolia and the Middle East—where he trekked across the steppe on horseback and studied the ruins of medieval fortresses—his tales are filled with vivid cultural details, believable characters, and unbridled warfare. In all, the Brotherhood of the Mamluks trilogy is a powerful imagining of the historically-significant deeds achieved by this little-known military society.
Book One, Chains of Nobility, is available now. One hundred percent of the author’s income from the sales of this book will be donated to screened charities that support wounded veterans and families of the fallen.
The second novel in the trilogy, The Lions of Islam, will be available in March, 2019.