Rita Ritchie, born, raised and educated in the state of Wisconsin, began writing in the first grade. By the time she was in high school, she was doing radio scripts for a local children’s program and producing feature articles for a weekly newspaper. Always interested in people and places, Mrs. Ritchie later spent time vacationing in Mexico and bicycling in Europe. Her curiosity about other places and times led her to study anthropology, and eventually to investigate the “barbarians” repeatedly mentioned in European history. She found the details of Genghis Khan’s empire so exciting that she felt she had to write about it. The result was her first book The Year of the Horse in 1957, and later, The Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan and Secret Beyond the Mountains. Over the years, Rita Richie added to these books with others that captured key historical moments in a variety of times and settings, some of which offered further excursions into the fascinating world of the falcon.