Once again, Iggulden hits it out of the park. These books are such a sweeping, vivid illustration of the Mongolian Empire and its powerful leader, Temujin, whom we know as Genghis Khan.
The writing is stellar. It is a bold, strong style with excellent pacing and broad strokes. The pacing is excellent, the story line easy to follow, in spite of multiple plot lines going on at the same time.
Iggulden doesn’t shy away from the hard topics of warfare, and all that went with it at the time. He doesn’t glorify Genghis, neither does he vilify him. He tells the story objectively, but powerfully. I found myself shaking my head and wondering what it was all FOR. The map of Genghis’ empire is blood-soaked. No more so than other empires, I would imagine, but this close-up look at it just emphasizes the futility and horror of war. It’s awful. There is nothing good about war.
There is, however, something good about people. About survival. Family. Children. Even in the midst of ugly war, there is honor, respect, loyalty, courage, strength, and power displayed in the men who wage it. All things that are good in and of themselves. What a shame that they were wasted on wanton killing, for no reason other than a desire to conquer. It all felt so empty at the end. And I felt worn out after following the Khan’s story.
Then, there are the historical notes at the end, laying the groundwork for all Iggulden did. The man was pretty darn accurate to what information is actually available to us. Amazing work.
These books deserve a place on my shelf.