Glaswegian civil engineer Ron Dean might sound like your average Scotsman, but a quick probe into his past reveals a very different story. Just a few minutes into our conversation, he lets drop that he is probably related to Alexander the Great and has written a book about Genghis Khan and the rise of the Mongol Empire.
It is because of this book, 'The Wrath of the Tartars', published six years ago, that Dean was recently presented with a medal of honour from the Mongolian president Nabaryn Enkhbayar.
According to Dean, the book is one of the few English texts to have reached Mongolia that brings to life the 12th century Mongolian Empire.
In August, Dean visited Ulaanbaatar and Karakorum in Mongolia as one of only 100 invited guests to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Mongolian state. He was one of only 14 to receive a medal of honour and scroll for the impact his book had made in Mongolia.
'Meeting the president and prime minister of Mongolia was a truly wonderful experience. I was the only UK representative and felt very proud to be there, ' says Dean.
'I'm a bit of a Mongolian cocktail myself, ' he adds. 'My father came from near Afghanistan and used to tell me about our Mongolian ancestors and the great Khans.' So while his father ran the local fish and chip shop in the notorious Gorbals area of Glasgow in the late 1940s, Dean spent the evenings in the local library reading up about his heritage.
Although history and writing have always been Dean's passions, he initially trained as a draughtsman, and later became a chartered civil and structural engineer.
It was only when Dean retired that he took up writing more seriously, looking at local legends such as the famed Ayrshire cannibal family of Sawney Bean, and stories of struggle for power and freedom embedded in Tartar history.