Top positive review
on 27 February 2017
The 3rd book in Conn Iggulden’s Conqueror series about Genghis Khan, and a fantastic novel.
Partly because Genghis is more of a character in his own books again; partly because the tensions we’ve seen built up in the previous two books reach some conclusion; and partly because the Mongols spread east into the lands of Islam, which is an area I’ve long held an interest in.
Not having really known anything about the Mongols before reading these books, it’s been fascinating to see how Conn Iggulden has built up not simply the character of Genghis Khan, but also his close family, particularly his brothers and sons.
Although there’s not a huge amount of time spent on developing inner conflicts and personal motivation, each character is painted well enough to make each stand out as very different. As the book has quite a large cast but limited room to focus on each character, the result really was an achivement.
Battle scenes are also very well choreographed, and somehow Iggulden manages to mix a sense of overview with breathless close combat experience. He also takes time to humanise the enemies of Genghis Khan and show them as fearsome opponents - Russian crusading knights, the Assassins, and the Shah of Khwarezm’s huge and seemingly unstoppable army.
All in all, a colourful depiction of the Mongols and the lives of their leaders, but also the peoples they encounter. At its heart remains the contradiction that is Genghis the man: father, and grandfather; and Genghis Khan, ruthless warlord. Masterful.