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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.
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on 16 June 2017
This is the third book of the Genghis Khan series. It starts with the rise to manhood of Genghis' sons, and deals mainly with the Mongols' wars with the Arabs/Persians and ends with the death of Genghis.
No one writes about historical warfare like Conn Iggulden. If you like his other stuff, like Cornwell, especially Sharpe, then you'll like this. The pace is fast, excellent descriptions without getting too bogged down in prose. The fight scenes are incredible, and seriously gory. Iggulden gives us enjoyable history lessons without the schoolroom boredom. The characters are different enough to make them interesting. The only part I didn't like was the scene with the assassins. A bit boring CI, but we'll give you that, it was only a few pages anyway.
An Angel's Alternative
Cold Steel on the Rocks
We Are Cold Steel
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on 5 September 2013
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.
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on 5 February 2010
No disappointment in this conclusion to the trilogy - just as fast, full of action and like the best historical fiction, it made me think about how these people would have lived in a way no textbook can. I'm not a literature student - I just want to know if a book left me satisfied or not, and this did. It was more thought-provoking than the earlier books, and I liked the depiction of Jelaudin and the respect he and Genghis had for each other. I haven't seen many other reviews by women and I'm not surprised, because this is the opposite of chick-lit!! I found it mildly amusing that the first two books only really seemed to consider women as spoils of war or the mother or wife of the Khan. I was left wondering if Conn Iggulden had ever talked to a girl, but he dedicates the book to his kids so he presumably has!!! But seriously, I wasn't at all miffed by this - the novel is about Mongol warriors after all, not a feminist text... The women do get more of a look-in this time, and I liked the bit about Genghis feeling uncomfortable when he saw his two wives talking together. On a separate note, I was looking for a read for a bit of fun and was relieved that generally no moral judgements were required in this series, as all parties to the wars seem fairly awful that it's hard to feel sorry for anyone. This is uncomplicated action - don't read it expecting to find much in the way of emotion!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 July 2012
Bones of the Hills is the third book in a set of 4 which traces the life and times of Genghis Khan. History has never been my strong point, but the way that Conn Iggulden has written this series of books has me fascinated. From the conditions under which the Mongols survived to the brilliance of Genghis on the battlefield, Conn has created a spellbinding novel out of history that makes it very difficult for me to put the book down. He freely admits that he has had to use some guesswork and that some events have been used out of order but this does not detract from the story, rather it enhances it. I am currently on Book 3 but will shortly be looking at the Kindle library to see what else Conn can tempt me with. I strongly recommend these books to anyone that likes action mixed with fact mixed with history and detail.
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on 20 April 2017
Love this series.
The books are so well written the pace is ferocious, making you want to continue reading. An excellent insight into the gengis Kahn dynasty. And the way of life for the Mongol tribes people. I have devoured the whole series and will be looking to read further conn iggulden books
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on 30 January 2014
The story of the Mongol khan who unified warring tribes into a nation is as fascinating as it is horrifying. It's hard to imagine a race as callous warlike and so self seeking. They didn't have art , they borrowed some technology. They didn't have much in the way of religion and killing family members was like swatting a fly to them but Conn Igullden just makes you want to journey with them through the blood soaked years from the day Temujin and his family were abandoned to die, to his own death as a conqueror of civilizations .
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on 21 November 2016
A superbly written account of the life of Genghis Khan and the Khans that followed him. Conn provides details at the back of the book on what he made up and what was historical fact. This is useful in preventing you spouting off rubbish to your friends when talking about the books - as I have been prone to do.
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on 22 November 2009
I have been hooked by all he books in this series about the rise of the Mongol empire. Conn Iggulden hs a writing style that I find extremely easy to read, unlike his name. The books flow from chapter to chapter making you want to continue, even when it is late and you have work the next day. The characters are deep and well drawn and you can almost smell the mutton fat and black airag.

The historic references are as accurate as any faction book can be and at the same time tell a story. Con always includes an epilogue which explain where and wny he has had to condense or alter what he knows was misleading. So for those wanting to explore rather than study the life of Gengis Khan it is a don't miss series.

Next stop for me is to read the series on Julius Ceasar. The first book I know is as good as this series so have high hopes for that one too.
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on 28 October 2013
Once started I had a job putting it down. As In one and two of the " Conqueror series. The story line is a continuation from previous book. Portrays Ghengis Khan as I would have imagined him to be. Great information historically, battle tactics and attitude towards their enemies. The Mongol way of life at that time seems to come alive to the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, from start to finish. I would say, anyone who likes historical fiction and in depth characters plus action packed military scenarios will love this book.
Thank you Conn Iggulden.
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