Spectacular, the whole series is a triumph,
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This review is from: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
I'm giving a review of the whole series so forgive me if not a specific review to this book.
I read the books themselves a few years ago in paperback and loved them, and recently needed something for my kindle whilst on holiday and decided to reread them - and I'm so glad I did, if anything I enjoyed them even more this time around and read the 5 books back to back.
To me this really is story telling at its finest - they may not be 100% accurate in terms of historical facts and Iggulden does indulge some theories of his own where history doesn't have the answers - but who cares!! This all adds to the enjoyment of the read. The story of the Mongols and the manner in which Temujin becomes Genghis, uniting the tribes under one banner is electrifying. The hardships he bears, from the betrayal of his mother's family, that result in the death of his beloved father, to the betrayal by his father's bondsman and his own older brother, shaped this man to become one of history's most brilliant, most brutal and most effective warriors and leaders. The story told here of how Genghis, along with his brothers, took tribes of wandering nomads and turned them into a terrifying war machine, that conquered and forged the largest empire since Alexander the Great.
Though Genghis had no interest in the mechanics of governing the nations he conquered, the Khans that followed him did and set in place changes that affected the World to come. And but for the unfortunate death of Ogedai Khan, who followed Genghis, and the fact that the Tumans (armies) had to come home to take part in the ceremonies involved in naming a new Khan, the Mongols having reached as far West as Poland and Hungary, under the brilliance of General Tsubodai, would have gone on to conquer through the lands of Austria, Italy and maybe Germany and France. No other armed force at this time was able to stop the Mongols, their tactics and weapons beyond anything else the Western powers had. The Mongols were the original architects of the 'lighting war', using speed and surprise to vanquish their enemies, tactics adopted by the Germans hundreds of years later, the blitzkrieg. It is one of history's biggest 'what ifs' - if Ogedai had lasted a year or so more, just how far west would the Mongol armies have conquered, and how much different would history have been?
The books are breathtakingly at times, the battles, the conflicts, the loss of life. But they are also full of beauty, humour and triumph, and show that the Mongols were not the uncultured, unintelligent savages that perhaps history sometimes makes them out to be. The stories involving Jochi, his first born son are heart breaking at times, as are the parts where Tolui gives his life for his Khan and older brother Ogedai.
The books end with probably the most famous Khan after Genghis, Kublai Khan, coming to power having vanquished his own brother. The Mongols are at the height of the powers and are at this time are still force under one man. This is not how it remains for long and there is undoubtedly potential for another whole series of books telling the rest of Kublai's story, about the Golden Horde in the northern landscapes of Russia, and how the Mongols help to shape events in the Islamic world of central Asia. And of course how Kublai Khan went on to play such a crucial role in China - a land that Genghis had tried to destroy and obliterate, his grandson went on to build up into a world power.
I really hope Conn Iggulden does go back to the Mongols and offers us more of his brilliant story telling. In the meantime I urge you to read all of the Conqueror series, they are a fantastic read and books you will want to read again and again.