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on 24 September 2015
A very good read, stories flowed well and were very interesting. Enter eating character plots. A good insight on a period in history which usually describes the Mongols as rampaging across Europe destroying everything and everyone they come across, this story expands on that theme believably.
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on 7 July 2016
Somewhat jumbled, by perhaps, to many contributory writers, nevertheless, this is a never less than interesting story. Bloody action involving some well crafted characters really do grip the attention of the reader. Yet, the constant character changes can be very disorienting.
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on 17 March 2017
I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. I cannot wait to read the other three books in the series.
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on 24 April 2017
Totally confused as to. What it was I've just read. No way to e d a book just pure commercialism in order to get you to part with your hard earned c a show to find out what happened. Fortunately I'm strong willed.....are you?
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on 20 March 2017
Scary to think life was once like this glad I was born in the 40s
That's the 1940s of course
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on 8 May 2017
Really enjoyed this book, feels historically accurate but has many interesting elements which elevate it into a fine work of fiction
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on 19 May 2016
Yes great read but went to buy 2nd book and can't. Very annoying!
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on 23 May 2013
Having just reached the end of Mongoliad Book 1, I am frankly astonished that Neal Stephenson has allowed his name to be associated with this novel, which as another reviewer has accurately described it, feels like a failed children's GCSE project. I like many turned to this novel having been captivated by the rest of Stephenson's work, hoping to find something similar to the Baroque Cycle but set in the world of Genghis Khan. Sadly all of the hallmarks of Stephenson's prose and imagination are conspicuous by their absence - there is no shred of humour, no attempt at characterisation, and none of the entertaining Stephenson digressions that make the reader bow to his encyclopaedic grasp of his subject matter.

The writing is simply appalling. On multiple occasions, sections or chapters end on that sophisticated technique - the authorial question... "would she ever see her friends again??". Honestly. There are gaping holes in the narrative - several times I found myself going back a couple of pages to check I hadn't missed something - and the attempts at characterisation are laughable. It is rare to reach the end of any novel and have developed zero sympathy for or affinity to any single one of the characters. Pedestrian, dull... I could go on and on.

Obviously one can point at the book's multiple authors, and how the book actually evolved, to explain its shortcomings. Sadly I think this only excuses it to a very small degree. Perhaps my expectations were too high - after all I have just come from the Baroque Cycle, Diamond Age, Snow Crash, Zodiac and Reamde (plus the excellent Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for video game afficionados, highly recommended) - but this feels like it had no editorial input whatsoever, and is simply a shameful attempt by its publishers to exploit Stephenson's popularity.

Shame on you, Mr Stephenson.
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This book apparently derives from an online collaborative project and represents the authors' refining and consolidating of the narrative from that project. Not having previously been aware of that work, I won't comment on how faithful it is, or on the differences between the two media (there are interesting comments on this in some of the other reviews).

Read simply as a sprawling, epic adventure, though, the book is great fun. It is 1241. The West - "Christendom" - is threatened by Mongol hordes (not an exaggeration - "horde" seems to be the correct technical term for those armies) sweeping in from central Asia. A small band of heroes, the Shield Brethren, determine to take a stand - but what can they achieve against overwhelming numbers?

While the Mongol invasions, and the brutality they entailed, became legendary, the authors take care here not to portray the invading Mongols as nothing more than rampaging monsters, or the defenders of the West as all being spotless. Alongside the Shield Brethren are some decidedly shady Western orders of knights. And a parallel storyline set at the court of the Great Khan underlines this, portraying him with some sympathy.

Of course, there is a great deal more going on, and the exact nature of many of the characters - especially Cnan, the mysterious girl from the Steppes - is satisfyingly unclear: while the descriptions of medieval combat and geopolitics are detailed and well worked through, this is also a story with real depth.

Overall, great fun, with the only two drawbacks, perhaps - the first being that it takes a little while at the start to absorb who all the various Christian knights (and Mongol warriors) are, and the second, that this first volume does stop rather abruptly - it isn't in any sense a self-contained story and The Mongoliad: Book Two  will have to pick up the action in mid flow. I'm looking forward to that, and it's out in September, which isn't too long to wait.
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on 6 June 2012
I'm not sure why this book is published as a trilogy - the seven authors have most of the written material in the can, and the biggest names amongst them (Bear and Stephenson) are famous for the size of their tomes. Perhaps that explains why this book reads as if a long, rambling pre-amble, introducing us to three separate plot strands which are hardly connected. But a historical epic can be forgiven for taking its time with scene-setting.

What can't be forgiven is the introduction of do many 'main' characters. There are so many that it is hard to build up an interest in their actions - they ride on some horses, they get in a very detailed fight, they clean up after the fight (this novel is reaching for accuracy) and then they ride on their horses some more. Meanwhile, the b-plot about the shenanigans in the court of the Khan is far more interesting, but hardly given time to expand.

To read this book is to be given a lesson on why books are written by a single author. It is not a bad book, but it is nowhere near a great book - despite the names involved.
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