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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 October 2011
Review
This for me was a very eagerly anticipated book, but i was never quite sure what to expect. There was always the lead that this book was to be about Kublai Khan, and to a degree it is, but not in the way i expected, and that's not a bad thing, having read so much its not often i'm surprised by an author.

What surprised me most was the whole encompassing picture that Conn Iggulden has managed to cover in this one book, Yes its a 500+ page title, but the ground covered would take some authors 1000+ pages, yet Conn misses nothing, retains the action, retains the depth of detail and quality of writing. If anything was missing it was the wild pace of Wolf of the Plains, but that slowing of pace matches the story, Wolf of the plains is the Wild abandon of Genghis, where as Conqueror is the maturing of a nation, the education and building of Kublai.

What i think pleased me most was learning about new characters from history, Guyuk, Uriang-Khadai, Arik-Boke and Mongke and their actions that led to the creation of the man Kublai Khan, the man the was needed to carve out a place in history, without the actions of the others he may well have been a scholar or a monk and vanished into obscurity, and who knows what would have happened to that part of the world...or the world as a whole?

What thrills me even more is that at the end of the book, there is still at least a whole book if not a whole series still hidden away for Mr Iggulden to come back to, Like the empire series there is no real end, there is just a point in history reached that means the tale is paused.

Conn I for one will be nagging you to come back to this, while i liked the empire series, I have loved the Genghis series, Wolf of the Plains being my favourite book you have written.

I highly recommend this book and this entire series not just to fans of Historical Fiction, but also to fantasy fans, thriller fans ..anyone..anyone who loves a great read well written and well told by a natural story teller.

Book Description

The one and only Conn Iggulden takes on the story of the mighty Kublai Khan. An epic tale of a great and heroic mind; his action-packed rule; and how in conquering one-fifth of the world's inhabited land, he changed the course of history forever.

A scholar who conquered an empire larger than those of Alexander or Caesar.

A warrior who would rule a fifth of the world with strength and wisdom.

A man who betrayed a brother to protect a nation.

From a young scholar to one of history's most powerful warriors, Conqueror tells the story of Kublai Khan - an extraordinary man who should be remembered alongside Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known.

It should have been a golden age, with an empire to dwarf the lands won by the mighty Genghis Khan. Instead, the vast Mongol nation is slowly losing ground, swallowed whole by their most ancient enemy. A new generation has arisen, yet the long shadow of the Great Khan still hangs over them all ...

Kublai dreams of an empire stretching from sea to sea. But to see it built, this scholar must first learn the art of war. He must take his nation's warriors to the ends of the known world. And when he is weary, when he is wounded, he must face his own brothers in bloody civil war.
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on 23 November 2011
Conn Iggulden is a master craftsman whose books are truly a world apart from the vast swathes of incomparable imitators who plague the genre. His books are inspirational reads that uplift the reader no end, thrusting you into a forgotten world of bygone civilisations. `Conqueror' is a book of epic proportions and it outclasses similar reads in every conceivable aspect.

When I collected my copy of `Conqueror', I was pleasantly surprised by the length as it extends over 500 pages. Here was a read that I could sink my teeth into and devour. It is one of those books that you could read anywhere and totally switch off from reality. It is also one of those books that you will find completely impossible to put down. The only problem with books of this quality is that they are all too soon completed leaving the reader with a longing ache for more of the same.

`Conqueror' is a tale of politics, leadership, expansion via conquest, brotherhood, warfare, destruction, death, pillage, yet one which subtly reinforces the importance of family, friendship, culture and tolerance. A quick succession of Great Khans leads to the ultimate power struggle between Kublai and his younger brother. Civil war looms and the lesser Khans are forced to choose between their oaths or complete destruction.

In this book, the reader will travel into the lands of the Sung and into the heart of the Islamic world. Different leadership styles lead to very different outcomes for the subjugated peoples and various cultural practices are described quite interestingly by Conn. Vast tacks of land are covered by the ever mobile Tumans and the reader will experience the hardships of travel along with the scouts and Yam riders. Conn has an ability to bring the smell of the scenes alive for the reader to experience and this complements the superb visual descriptive passages enormously.

Conn's characterisation as ever is second to none. All of the key characters are given differing personalities which allows each scene shift to feel fresh allowing a long book to flow fluidly throughout. Characters have sides to them that attract and often repulse, yet they are all fully dimensionable, conceivable and most importantly interesting. Just enough characters from the previous book survive to make it into `Conqueror' and this allows the transition between books to retain a sense of familiarity. That being said though, you could probably get away with reading `Conqueror' as a standalone novel. But please don't do that as you would be denying yourself countless hours of literary pleasure.

All in all, this was an excellent book and one which held my attention and interest throughout. I cannot wait for Conn's next work and hope that it is not too far off!
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Up til now Robert Harris (especially the Cicerio trilogy) and Bernard Cornwell have been my main exposure to historical fiction. I really enjoy them, love the historical detail, the battle descriptions (Cornwell), and the personality given to the characters.

Fans of Iggulden will know how good he is, but readers of Harris and Cornwell need to know that here is a like-minded, like-gifted exponent of the genre. Maybe I'm just coming late to the party, but I'm glad to get here!

Given that Iggulden was new to me, the book rather on the large side, I was expecting to take a while to get going. No - I was gripped from the start, and held the whole way through. This is superb writing, and a great overview of Kublai Khan. I havent read the others in the series and it didnt detract any from the story line.

There was a point in the book where I wished he would stop switching scenes, but once these scenes and their characters got rounded out I got caught up in the events and enjoyed him developing the storylines in parallel.

There is a map at the start of the book and a family tree, but both of them could do with be a little more detailed, but that takes little away from the overall scope, style and enjoyability of the book.

Top notch - for all fans of this genre of historical fiction.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The last book in the "Conqueror" series that I reviewed was "Empire of Silver", and in that I felt that it was weaker than the previous books in the series. This was partly because Ghenghis Khan died at the end of Book 3, and so "Empire of Silver" was dealing with the aftermath. I think the problem, for me, was that the story that Iggulden was trying to tell just wasn't interesting enough, and the characters weren't sufficiently interesting to keep it going. This wasn't Iggulden's fault - he did a good job with a weaker subject.

I am happy to say that with "Conqueror", this fifth book, he is WAY back on form. He is now dealing with the rise to power of Kublai Khan, and the history is much more interesting.

I won't spend loads of time praising Iggulden's writing - he is perfectly competent, as we all know; he knows his history, and he gives us a cracking good yarn. His handling of the battles is very good, and one does end up feeling sympathetic towards the characters.

What makes this book is that the characters are so much more full and rounded. Kublai himself is an interesting character, and seeing his development from a peaceful scholar into a ruthless general makes the story worth telling.

To be honest, however, I did feel that the story slowed a bit in the middle - the first and last thirds were excellent; but I found it just a tad more difficult to bother picking up the book to continue reading in the middle third. But it was worth sticking with it - Part 3 rattled along and kept me hooked (and as I was reading it in the garden I nearly got sunburn as a result!)

I think Iggulden made a good choice ending the book where he does - not least because it was starting to get a bit long. It was rather nice to end the book with the main protagonist still alive!

Yep, definitely worth five stars. If you've read the others in the series, then you probably don't need me to recommend this one; if you haven't, you don't need to go back and read the others first (although I recommend that, as well).
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on 6 December 2012
The Conqueror is the fifth book in the series about the dynasty of Genghis Khan and the rise of the Mongol nation. The earlier books progressed through the lives of Genghis and his sons. This one mainly focusses on the lives of Genghis Khan's grandsons Arik-Boke and his elder brother Kublia. Much of the book is about the alliances they forge and the power struggle between them in order for one of them to become Khan. Although this book can be read without having read the others in the serious, I would recommend starting with the first book `Wolf of the Plains.' The main reason being is, Iggulden does a good job of showing how Genghis united the Mongol tribes in order for the dynasty to conqueror much of the known world. With this book, cracks are beginning to appear in the family and you can see why within a few generations the dynasty's power began to wane. This book is a fast paced historical thriller with lots of action. It isn't a book that is multi-layered that gives you insight into the mind of the power hungry and ruthless. Also, although the conqueror series does appear to keep to an accurate historic time line, Iggulden is happy to change a few facts to keep the story interesting. However, this series continues to hold my interest and I look forward to the next book.
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on 7 April 2012
Like the characters of his novels Conn Iggulden carries all before him in epic works of,stunning proportions. The Conqueror series tells the story of the rise and rise of the Mongol Nation and manages to cover the fantastic sweep of history and at the same time is populated with characters of great depth and violent humanity. Conqueror is the last in a series of 5 books and largely, but not exclusively covers the story of Kublai Khan. The name itself conjures up visions of the East and of fantastic power and achievements. Kublai is one of 4 brothers, grandsons to Ghengis and all 4 rise to power and success. But it is Kublai who stands out. A scholar turned soldier, magnanimous rather than vengeful in victory, a man nevertheless with the iron will to battle and succeed against tremendous odds.

Conqueror is Iggulden at his best. A fitting end for this fantastic journey.
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on 20 December 2011
This new book in the series by Conn Iggulden which covers the period following Genghis Khan's death and the power struggle between his would be successors proves to be up to the high standard of the previous books in the series. It make a fast moving and interesting read.
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on 16 May 2012
This last book in the Mongol collection was awaited in anticipation partly because the previous books were so good and partly because this is not a subject that I have read previously. Conn Iggulden is clearly a class writer and I look forward to his next project. I keep my own scores on novels I have read and he is the only author who has scored 10/10 for each of his books (even Bernard Cornwell scores a few 9/10).

The strength of the Mongols appeared to be the fact that they were prepared to accept any hardships and were very flexible. During this period they also adopted chinese technology and skills producing an unstoppable combination.

Dave
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on 22 January 2012
Charting the rise of Kublai Khan, this is historical fiction at its very best. Iggulden brings to life the sweeping, strategic movements of hundred thousand plus armies like the pieces on a chess board, and his descriptions of battles are, at times, utterly breathtaking. He pumps life into uncompromising killers, and never shies away from the reality of the Mongol way of life - brutal, merciless, and at times, inhuman.

Like all books, there are some shortcomings. Iggulden has a seriously tiresome habit of resurrecting his favourite cliches - "grimaced", "winced", "chuckled" - and he has introduced some brand new ones - "smiled", "grinned", "snorted". The amount of times Kublai "grinned" or "snorted" to himself, you would thing he was taking part in a West End play. There are also one or two glaring factual errors in this book. The introduction of potatoes (which were not even introduced outside of South America until the sixteenth century) during a meal, is unforgivable. There has to be some benchmark for accuracy, even in a fictional book. There is also an embarrassing grammatical error in the very last sentence of Iggulden's historical note - "Over just three generations, that is the simply the greatest rags-to-riches tale in human history." Obviously there is an extraneous "the" in this sentence. One for his proof readers, I think!

These minor irritations aside, Iggulden should be congratulated for penning a novel as enormous as this one, and never once letting the reader feel anything but gripped, right to the very last page. Conn's greatest strength is that he never gets bogged down in nuance or tiny detail - thus making Conqueror his best book so far.

The only great disappointment for me was Iggulden's surprise announcement that this is to be the final book of the series, rather than the penultimate. It is an enormous shame that Iggulden feels the way he does about "retiring" his character early - when there is so much more to come. I sincerely hope he changes his mind.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A personal declaration firstly; I had not heard of this author or series so came into the book cold. I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell's books of historical fiction. This is very much set in that way. Taking historical figures and facts and joining the dots together to take you into the story and the events that took place.

This book is about the slow rise to Power of Kublai Khan and the relationships that he has with his brothers and the Mogul Dynasty. It is a good sized book and will keep you going for several days as you are taken through his rise and key victories.

Without giving away the ending, it ends in a really good place; leaving you wanting more and wanting to know what did happen next.

Real and believable. Good read.
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