James Waterson’s history books include a trilogy of works on the Middle East that take the reader from the early expansion of Islam through to the early modern period and a unique four dynasty history of China that details the Middle Kingdom’s long conflict with the armies of Chinggis Khan and his descendants.
In pursuit of a living wage Waterson has been an actor in Chinese movies, a radio host, an oil rig worker, a university lecturer, a writer of English language textbooks, and a contadino.
He was inspired to write Defending Heaven, his history of the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties by an after-dinner chat with Jung Chang at the 2009 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. He discussed his book Sacred Swords at the 2011 Festival.
Waterson is currently involved in two TV documentary projects based around his book The Ismaili Assassins, and a TV drama series that pits the wits of a philosopher-detective against a number of enemies in 11th Century Baghdad.
His first book, The Knights of Islam, was translated into Arabic by the Council of Egypt in 2010. His ambition is the same as that of his hero, Benedetto Croce: To make the past reverberate. He thinks he has at least partially achieved this in his new book, Dracula’s Wars.