The year is 1229 and the successor to Genghis Khan as Great Khan of te Mongol Nation is about to take place. The heir is Ogedei, Genghis's third son and chosen over his ekder brother Chagatai. On the night before the confirmation of Ogedei as Khan of the Nation Chagatai's troops storm his palace in the new city of Karakorum and attempt to murder him so that Chagatai can claim to be Khan. The attempt fails and Ogedei send his brother to conquer the south. He sends his father's general, Tsubodai, west into Europe and he goes east to China to further conquests.
In this book we see the continued expansion of the Empire founded by Genghis. Iggulden brings us the politics and daily life of Karakorum, the newly built capital of the Mongol Empire as well as the start of the "Golden Horde", the Mongol Khanate that was to dominate Eastern Europe for many years. He also introduces the next generation of Mongol rules Guyuk Khan, Batu Khan and Mongke Khan who will no doubt be the main characters in future volumes. He describes Tsubodai's brilliant campaign of mobile warfare in Eastern Europe and shows how if the Mongol Armies had not been recalled in 1242 they would have reached the Atlantic.
This has a pacy narrative and there are not too many characters to follow. The author admits that aspects of the account are fictionalised but he describes the Mongol's strategic genius and how they used their intelligence and mobility to defeat their "cvilised" opponents with their reliance on heavy cavalry and infantry compared to the light horse archers and lancers of the nimble Mongol Tumans. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to lovers of historical fiction.
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