The Tiger and the Cauldron
The History behind the Novel
After the death of Arghun Khan, Persia fell into the hands of his brother Gaikatu. However, the succession was disputed by their cousin Baidu, and civil war followed.
The Tiger and the Cauldron tells the story of their quarrel and of the subsequent challenge by Arghun’s son, the newly-converted Mahmoud Ghazan (the Cauldron).
After four years on the throne, Gaikatu was deposed and murdered - though I have taken liberties with the circumstances of his death. Baidu’s reign lasted only a few months.
Rashid ad-Din, who wrote the history of the Il-khans, appears in the novel as himself.
Doquz - the Tiger of the tale - is invented though, in certain details, she may resemble her real-life namesake, Doquz, wife of Hulegu Khan, who was mourned by the Armenian historian Kirakos as ‘a second Helen.’