The Baljuna Covenant

The Baljuna Covenant, by Tim Pelkey

Science-driven novel attempts to unlock the secrets of 13th century Eurasia.

James Andrews finally appears to be catching a break. After years of searching for Genghis Khan’s tomb, he unearths a bone during a dig on Burkhan Khaldun, Mongolia’s holy mountain. After tests suggest the bone belongs to Genghis Khan, Andrews and his colleague Abbey Conrad follow the strands of the bone’s DNA back through time and begin to unlock the secrets of thirteenth century Eurasia.

Mongolia is in the midst of turmoil. As the world’s superpowers vie for control of its vast resources and open lands, Andrews’s quest takes center stage. Past and present collide, revealing ancient truths along with a web of deception that tears Andrews’s life apart and pushes the world to the brink of war.

Part historic fiction, part archaeological mystery, and part political thriller, The Baljuna Covenant tells stories of a poor boy’s rise to the heights of world power, of two friends and unimagined betrayal, and of a secret kept for over half a millennia. Most of all it tells the story of a promise between Genghis Khan and his people, a promise kept until this day.

My cousin Julie Atchley and her husband Ken at the 2017 IBPA meeting in Portland.

In December 2017, I was honored to talk to Mr. Schrems’s and Ms. DeLapp’s AP World History classes at GR Catholic Central after the novel was placed on their summer reading list. The classes were debating whether or not Genghis Khan was an enlightened ruler.

Author with East Grand Rapids book club.



“A bit of the old Indiana Jones movies . . . an interesting read with well-developed characters . . . combines action, history, and archaeology together into a seamless plot line.”

Readers’ Favorite


“The Baljuna Covenant is an engaging and suspenseful read . . . Pelkey has written a rich and captivating novel.”

—US Review of Books .

“Insightful . . . quick . . . A clever, complex tale that should pique readers’ curiosity about Genghis Khan and leave them looking forward to the author’s next book.”

—Kirkus Reviews  Featured Review in March 1, 2017 issue of Kirkus Reviews

“This is a fascinating first novel . . . wonderfully clear and concise explanation of gene sequencing and its use in narrowing down the ancestral line of Genghis Khan . . . Often times first novels—especially those that are plot-driven as this one clearly is—can leave a bit to be desired when it comes to characterization.  But author Pelkey created strong, believable protagonists, as well as villains—characters that seemed to behave in ways appropriate to the circumstances in which they found themselves.  There was no hint of a sequel but I for one would look forward to more adventures for James Andrews, a believably competent but not uber macho archaeologist!”

Bill Gresens, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.

“DNA research from the halls of academia meets history and modern politics. The Baljuna Covenant is an enjoyable, fast-moving thriller centered around

perhaps the most genetically prolific man of all time.”

—Dr. Chris Tyler-Smith, Sanger Institute, UK, principal investigator of the 2003 study that detected Genghis Khan’s Y chromosome markers


 2017 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist

Finalist for 2017 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards for Political Thriller

Finalist for 2017 29th Annual Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Awards for First Novel, Popular Fiction, and Historical Fiction.

Silver Medalist for The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book: Fiction

Silver Medalist for Popular Fiction

Silver Medalist for Fiction: Historical






I was first hesitant to even open this book, given only a very limited knowledge of Genghis Khan. How could I enjoy something about which I know so little? I decided to give it a try. One chapter in and I literally could not put it down. Tim Pelkey adroitly weaves multiple story lines in such a way that I immediately became a willing captive of his writing. Now I am utterly fascinated by Genghis Khan and am inspired to take a trip to Mongolia.

Is Tim the Genghis Khan of authors? I’ll reserve that call until after a few more of his works are out. As for his first, if you enjoy ANY sort of story telling, this will not disappoint!

—Mark B.

Highly enjoyable read especially if you like historical fiction. Multiple times I found myself googling things found in this book to further understand the area, the time and Genghis Kahn. I didn’t know much about Genghis Kahn or historical Mongolia – frankly wasn’t that interested – but now I’m more interested than ever. Further reading about the time and place proves to me that this was obviously well researched! From a fictional standpoint, I highly await the next adventure of James Andrews. Very enjoyable!


If you like historical fiction, if you are fascinated by Ghengis Khan or if you love political thrillers, this is a great book for you. There is a ton of historical content, not taught often in the West, about Ghengis Khan and that is fascinating enough. However, the author wraps all that history both in a story of Ghengis Khan but also in a contemporary thriller. If you liked Labyrinth from Kate Mosse or Conn Iggulden’s works on Ghengis Kahn or Julies Ceaser, you will like this book. Great first book by Tim Pelkey!

—Kevin K.

Excellent historical research and references intertwined with realistic fictional current and historical stories. Historical fiction doesn’t get much better.

—Dudrey S.

The Baljuna Covenant is a terrific read! The author weaves history, geo-political tensions, espionage and romance into a story that will keep you guessing and turning pages to the end. I love historical fiction, and this book transports you into the world of Genghis Khan and Mongolia as it existed 800 years ago. Genghis Khan’s history is related side by side with the thrilling modern-day story that puts the search for his remains in the center of the action.

—Jane M.

The author’s insight into the life of Genghis Khan, the historical research, and his ability to link today’s political and scientific world made this an enjoyable and addictive read. Tim’s ability to end the book where it needed to end made me hope there will be another historical/espionage fiction in his future.