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4.6 out of 5 stars258
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 June 2011
Book four takes the story to the next stage, Genghis is dead and the legacy must go on, i was worried that this would mean that the story would get bogged down in detail of intrigue and lose its flow. But i should know better with Conn, his story telling ability seems to grow with each passing book.

This book, does not have the same frantic pace of empire expansion building as the previous three in the series, the first three books are the birth of an empire and have that raw power and pace you expect from the creation of something new. book four is more like the patient building of something solid.

We watch as the old in the form of Tsubodai see their power slowly whittled away by the young bucks, we watch while Ogedai creates a new order, taking the best of his nation and adding the best of the chin and other nations and building a new Mongol nation, but first he must hold onto power, we also get a glimpse of just how different european history could have been if one man had lived another year.

I came away at the end of the book having enjoyed the heady battles across Russia and the chin lands but also feeling educated, like i had learnt more than i had with the previous books, and that didnt mean the book lacked pace and flow, and it wasn't just the very well worded epilogue, it just felt like it was maturing.
I'm now left wondering if this isn't the best book in the series....although i did love wolf of the plains with its racing pace and energy.
again 9/10 Conn.
(Parm)
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on 7 September 2010
I thought Conn Iggulden was done with this series in the previous book, which ended with the death of Genghis Khan, but this book takes up where the last left off - with the brothers, sons and grandsons of Genghis Khan rivalling for supremacy in the nation Genghis created.

This book, like all the others, is rich in historical detail, and the author has an incredible gift for transporting the reader into the period, capturing the mood and feel perfectly. Never is the action held up for unecessary detail, and yet the writing is so well done that I really felt like I was watching the events unfold.

I know too little about this historical period to comment on the accuracy of the descriptions and detail given, but I know from the Emperor series that the author spends a good deal of time time on careful research for his novels, so I am guessing it is a faithful one. Then again, I was aware that he occasionally played with the history a little in the Emperor series to make a better story, so I wouldn't trust this book for a history dissertation (although maybe that is unfair of me - a better student of the period may like to comment). Regardless of that though, this is a cracking good story. The adventure comes fast and furious, and the battle scenes flow so well, I have no idea how he manages it!

Any initial slowness of the story (and there is not much) is down to the fact that this is a historical narrative. Conn Iggulden could have perhaps created an even more delicious initial tension - but he is constrained by the need to tell the story as it actually happened (more or less), so he can't go assasinating characters who never died and such like.

Ultimately though this is a book that the author did not need to write. He could have stopped writing with the death of Genghis Khan and no-one would have felt the series incomplete. Nevertheless I, for one, am very glad he did carry on writing. Another first class historical adventure by a master of the art of storytelling.
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The year is 1229 and the successor to Genghis Khan as Great Khan of te Mongol Nation is about to take place. The heir is Ogedei, Genghis's third son and chosen over his ekder brother Chagatai. On the night before the confirmation of Ogedei as Khan of the Nation Chagatai's troops storm his palace in the new city of Karakorum and attempt to murder him so that Chagatai can claim to be Khan. The attempt fails and Ogedei send his brother to conquer the south. He sends his father's general, Tsubodai, west into Europe and he goes east to China to further conquests.

In this book we see the continued expansion of the Empire founded by Genghis. Iggulden brings us the politics and daily life of Karakorum, the newly built capital of the Mongol Empire as well as the start of the "Golden Horde", the Mongol Khanate that was to dominate Eastern Europe for many years. He also introduces the next generation of Mongol rules Guyuk Khan, Batu Khan and Mongke Khan who will no doubt be the main characters in future volumes. He describes Tsubodai's brilliant campaign of mobile warfare in Eastern Europe and shows how if the Mongol Armies had not been recalled in 1242 they would have reached the Atlantic.

This has a pacy narrative and there are not too many characters to follow. The author admits that aspects of the account are fictionalised but he describes the Mongol's strategic genius and how they used their intelligence and mobility to defeat their "cvilised" opponents with their reliance on heavy cavalry and infantry compared to the light horse archers and lancers of the nimble Mongol Tumans. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to lovers of historical fiction.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 7 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is Iggulden's fourth novel "Mongol Empire" series and one of his best. The great Khan - Genghis, architect of the Mongol nation, is dead and it is left to his family to carry on - with his illness-ridden son Ogedai precariously on the throne and holed up in his bright new city. If, as seems likely, he doesn't live many years then the nation could be torn apart by factional infighting.

In the meantime the brothers and sons of the great (dead) Khan go East, West and north to push the borders of the Mongol nation back further into Asia AND Europe.

This novel covers the politics of the family feuding and also a fair amount of the armies sweeping all-comers aside.

It takes a little while to get going - to re-introduce the characters from the last three books (all who have aged somewhat) but once it hits its stride it's a rip-roaring novel til the end.

I cannot wait for book number 5!
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on 15 April 2012
This is the forth book in Conn Iggulden's Conqueror series about the life and time of the Khan Empire. The first three where concerned about the life of Genghis Khan where this one is mainly about his son Ogedai Khan, his struggle for power with his brother Chagtai and the Empires move into eastern Europe.
I must admit at first I thought this a book to far and he should have stopped with the death of Genghis Khan. However, as the book moved along I found myself again being totally caught up in it. Also, althought this is a work of fiction, in the Conqueror series Iggulden does keep to the historic facts.Because of this, you are left with an understanding of how the shifts and turns in the history of this period did to some degree set a course that affected all our lives. If I were to say anymore I would have to warn against spoilers. A really good book if you like action packed historical novals.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2010
After finishing Bones of the Hills (Conqueror 3), I thought that the Conqueror series had gone the way of 'Emperor', with the death of the main character signifying the end of the series.

When it turned out there was to be another in the series, I was happy as a pig in the proverbial & have been reading it solidly ever since it came out.

Although it could have been a huge disappointment (akin to the Matrix sequels, or similar), I'm pleased to report that the series has lost none of its brilliance & does not lack for content. Covering the Mongol's after the death of Genghis, we see the new Khan (Ogadai) struggle with rivals & rise to his task of finishing what his father started, in conquering the Whole World.

As with the previous novels, there are many other characters to the story, such as his brothers (with true warrior names like Chagotai, Tsubodai and Khasar). There are also new characters, such as Sorhatani (wife of one of Genghis' sons & mother to Kublai) & new generals like Batu, who ensure that a wide range of Mongol leaders is shown.

And the descriptions of battles?
Anyone who has played Medieval: Total War will know that the arrival of the Golden Horde is a game changer & the Mongols were easily the best army.
With battles against the Song Chinese and to take Moscow & Kiev (as well as some breath-taking descriptions of strategy against the Templar and Teutonic Knights respectively) this book more than does justice to the relentless yet ingenious onslaught of the Mongols.

Given the epic nature of these battles and the compelling themes to be explored, I'm surprised that no-one else has done a series like this before. Like The Lord of the Rings film though, I think the Mongol's story requires extraordinary ability to see it through & there seems to be only one other author who'd be up to the task (Bernard Cornwell).
There are elements that could be improved. For instance Ogadai (the Khan) seems to throw himself needless pity-parties throughout the book (which make some sort of sense in plot terms, but are a little overdone).

Also, the plot can be slow in places & the first hundred pages take a while to get going.
Still, both these weaknesses can be mostly excused by the actual history that occurred (though some could have been glossed over) and at no point did I find the story anything less than riveting.

As this is the first book of the series I've read (as opposed to listened to), I can see why the books are so popular. For those who want to try something new though, I'd seriously recommend this (or any of the rest of the series such as Lords of the Bow (Conqueror 2)) on audio CD. The books on their own are superb, but listened to with a decent narrator, while travelling or jogging somehow brings the nomadic warriors to life...
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on 21 October 2011
If I had read this book as a standalone, without its three predecessors, I think that I may have awarded it five stars. It really is a wonderful work of historical fiction. However, it is just not up to the standard of the other three in this series.

There is quite a lot of politics in this one, and the rivalries between the secions of the family continue. There is a fair share of savage brutality, and some of it is shocking, but you expect that by now, don't you?

Ogedai is the new Khan, but only just. There is an unsuccessful attempt on his life on the eve of the oath-taking which will confirm his supreme position in the Mongol nation. Some skilful manipulation resolves the splits and rivalries between the most powerful, and makes all of the protagonists relatively happy.

The Khan continues the expansion of the empire, and the building of cities. This may not be the way that Ghengis would have operated, but it works. Sadly, Ogedai is ill. The radical solution is beyond anything that you can imagine, but Iggulden makes it totally believable.

The torrid pace of all of the books in the Conqueror series continues, but I just felt that this was one book too far. Don't let me put you off reading it though. It is still a superb read, and I commend it to you.
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on 11 November 2014
Conn Iggulden takes us on a rip-roaring tide of battles, military strategem, new weaponry with lots of blood, internal feuding, death, and unimaginable destruction of an empire.
We are offered a great breath of literal delights of the transitional period of turmoil between Genghis and Kublai; as the brothers, sons and grandsons fight and contrive evil plots for the succession to be Khan of the Wolves and the Mongolian Empire.
I am always struck by Conn's relentless conditioning of the everyday details, so that we can thrive in our own pictorial knowledge in the lives of the Mongol horde. Descriptions of the food, drink (Mostly Airag!), clothing and the amazing geography of the landscapes they conquer are superbly fashioned in every chapter.
I really miss the violent, ruthlessly selfish but intelligent Ghengis; but this continues a fantastic story on the lives of Ogedai and Chagatai. A thoroughly entertaining narrative of the struggles and strife of the 13th century. I can't wait for the next Iggulden project.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2016
If you haven't read any of this series I would recommend starting at the beginning and continuing with all five. This one, the fourth, picks up in interest after the third was uninspired, in my opinion.

All the books have long battle sense which are reasonably interesting and well written but unfortunately far too repetitive and long, filling a larger proportion of the pages than justified by the specific points of military interest. Mostly they are just detailed descriptions of the violence and the various attendant emotions. However, the fourth and fifth books contain some interesting politics which makes them well worth reading.

The writing is simple and unsophisticated but never cheap. . By the time I had finished the series, I felt I had a good insight into the mongols, their lifestyle, beliefs, talents, achievements and politics. It is a fascinating story and this lightly entertaining account, grounded in research, is a good way to explore it.
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on 3 June 2013
This is another stunning chapter in the Conqueror series. I took a bit of a break after the first three before coming back to this one. Really excellent stuff. Engaging story and characters and again wonderfully told story. The first book in the series is undoubtedly the best but this one comes pretty close. Highly recommended.
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