Neal Stephenson has a hard time talking about swordplay, in the Mongoliad trailer

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Neal Stephenson attempts to talk about swords and medieval battles... only to be told he's not doing it "big" enough, in this new trailer for The Mongoliad Vol. 1, the anthology he and some friends created about a secret history of Eurasia.

We're thrilled to be able to bring you your exclusive first look at this trailer, which shows off some amazing sword technique and also shows Neal Stephenson doing his absolute, level best to create some hype.

Here's the official synopsis for The Mongoliad, Vol. 1:

This May, from the minds of Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear comes The Mongoliad Trilogy, the first installment in the Foreworld Saga, a collaborative series unlike any other that will enthrall fans of fantasy, martial arts, and historical fiction.

The Foreworld medieval adventure saga was actually born out of swordfighting. Stephenson and the other authors are avid practitioners of Western martial arts and they are part of an enthusiastic study group in Seattle. reports that Stephenson realized that the descriptions of swordfighting in his novels would have been much better with contributions from people with fighting expertise. Thus the idea for a saga about the complex, bloody history of Western martial arts was born, featuring Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo.

The first novel to be released in the saga, THE MONGOLIAD: BOOK ONE (47North; May publication; On-sale: April 24, 2012; $14.95 trade paperback; $9.99 digital), is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.

But the saga unfolds on a truly grand scale for it comes to the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.

More than just a story, The Mongoliad is an sweeping narrative firmly rooted in history, taking readers back to a time when Europeans thought that the Mongol Horde was about to destroy their world-and it was up to the exploits of one small band of mystics and warriors to turn the tide of history.

Full of high adventure, unforgettable characters, and unflinching battle scenes, The Mongoliad ignites a dangerous quest where willpower and blades are tested and the scope of world-building is redefined.


You can preorder The Mongoliad, Vol. 1 over at