My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read the first book in this series almost a year ago and loved it. You can see my review of it HERE.
Once again, I found Iggulden’s stark prose a refreshing approach to the intensity of the Mongolian Empire. This book has more battles in it, but not at the expense of developing individual characters. Once again, I appreciated the historical notes at the end of the book explaining Iggulden’s process in fictionalizing history. It was really interesting to me to see Genghis’ brothers developing and coming into their own, and knowing them better. To see these men as real people who existed in a real place, at a real time, and experienced real events.
This series is a stellar example of what historical fiction ought to be, in my opinion. This series brings history to life and makes it so much more than anonymous dates set in a foreign location.
The landscape, battles, family dynamics, and Chin cities are painted with a vivid brush. Once again, Iggulden doesn’t back away from the ugly reality of war, but he manages to maintain the mentality of the Mongols: that battle is a glory. The ferocious joy that comes from their precise archery ability, the vicious intelligence of their strategy, and Genghis’ mental agility that enabled him to adapt to any situation are portrayed in a matter-of-fact way. Pulling no punches, but not knocking you upside the head with a 2×4 either.
The 2nd book has cemented my decision to just buy the series, so I can have it ready when my children reach the age at which I think it would be appropriate for them to delve into it. What a marvelous addition to any history curriculum or textbook!