This is a really good story with interesting characters. It gives an insight into what people must have felt when faced with the news that the Mongols were coming. I have to take two stars off for the way the story just stops in the middle. It's not really even a cliff hanger, no one climbed a cliff, they were just telling the story and stopped. I think marketing is getting in the way of art here. I'll by the second book because I have faith in the writers and like the production but it's not a strong faith. I'll let you know.
I think anyone who purchased this book should get the next part free, if they want. It didn't come to any conclusion at ALL. I mean did they just run out of paper or was it only suppose to be so many pages long. I'm am used to fantasy names , but this book was extremely hard to follow. Don't waste your time.
I have listen to other books by multible aurthors (like the Choplin Manuscript = excellent) but this one just did not click.
I like Luke Daniel's voice but he can't do anything for a bad story to begin with.
See my remarks below. I expected much more from this book -- or should it be "project"?
The dialogue was much too 21st century colloquial in far too many places. While I hate deliberately archaic dialogue, I really don't think anyone in the 13th century in Russia would be saying "OK".
The ending of the book seemed to be simply "we've run out of ideas for the moment, we'll publish the next one when we think of more things to write".
The narrator was adequate but not inspired. His flat, rather nasal Midwestern twang sorted oddly with the nationalities of the characters. He also mispronounced a number of fairly basic words
I guess it is if you are a youngish, male, computer gamer who likes stories which are mainly full of gore and dead people. Fights/battles rehearsed in excruciating detail; most characters fairly cardboard. Not up to Neal Stevenson's standard if compared to Cryptonomicon or the Baroque Cycle.
Books written by a committee rarely if ever seem to jell. Raised on Harold Lamb's "March of the Barbarians", which not only told the saga of the Mongolian invasions but caught the atmosphere and flavor of both the Middle Ages and the Far East, this seemed to lack purpose and direction. Could see it marketed as a "dungeons and dragons" computer game in future.
Stevenson is on record as saying that this sort of "interactive" project is the way he thinks books are going to go in the internet age. I disagree, sadly. He's better on his own [sometimes; of late he seems to just churn stuff out, alas.]
I found it to be written a little too much like they are expecting it to be a screen-play. I would have liked less predictable story lines and more developed characters.
How predictable it was. The foreshadowing was a little too complete. The book contains a grand concept delivered so simply that I was left wanting a lot more depth.
His performance was the only thing that kept me listening on a very long drive.
Well yes, the series is obviously incomplete.
I love the concept of the book. Many of its individual characters are very interesting, and I still think on their personalities and choices. I feel that some of the ethereal themes of the book were squeezed out of the way so it would appeal to the masses who watch Game of Thrones.
Having listened to Conn Iggulden"s books on the subject, I was expecting a good interpretation of the mongol story by other authors, perhaps with a fantasy twist.
The research may have been good. But the writing was at best mediocre; there was no actual character development; and the reading was also mediocre. As a final insult, the book just ended, without polish or attempt to bring it to any conclusion. Maybe there was a planned next in a series; but if so, I will never know. Overall, my recommendation is to read or listen to Iggulden's far superior books and not waste the credit.
Disappointing and abrupt end to this work. The authors did not have the forethought to wrap up the story lines. It appeared as if they hit their contracted number of words per work and decided that was it, we'll finish this up (maybe?) in book #2. The story lines were interesting and imaginative, but poor ending. I expected more out of these authors.
I bought this because Stephenson was the first listed author, and I like his other work. The setting of this book is foreign to me-perhaps if I had more knowledge of the Mongol Empire I would have found it a better read.
Stephenson's participation is difficult to detect, and there is some downright painful writing in here. For example (I don't know the exact quote and can't be bothered to backtrack and get the exact quote) there is a section in which a priest is talking to the Pope. The simile used is something like "life had been wrung from him like juice is wrung from a grape." Who wrings a grape?
I speculate that the breaking of this story into several volumes is an effort to obtain more money by encouraging serial purchases. I will not follow this story further, there are too many other good books to listen to.
The collection of writers of this book attracted me. I have generally avoided books by committee but thought, with these writers, this might be interesting and I was attracted by the sale price. I would have been better off not bothering.
The central idea, that a group of warriors might ride off to try to stop the Molgol invasion by assassinating Ogedei Kahn, seemed like a reasonable plot, but I personally found the writing stuffy, boring and reeking of too much of a fantasy novel. It might have been the underlying assumption of a great world-wide conspiracy in a time when getting a message from one part of Europe to another took months, or it might have been the secret society names without any explanation as to what they were, or it might just have been that this book was not for me. I don't know, but I ended up abandoning the effort about half way through the first part.
While I thought the plot was plodding and uninteresting I have to say that the performance was first class. Luke Daniels did such a wonderful job of narrating that I could tell one character from another just by the voice. It did not make the characters any more interesting for me, but he did a first class job and that should be mentioned.
It was not a total loss. I did learn one thing - that I need to stop buying Audible books just because they are on sale at a terrific price.
Being Hungarian in heritage, I always try historical books that incorporate that heritage.I don't know much about the Mongolian invasion and was hoping this first novel might touch on that. It doesn't. That's OK. The actual storyline, as written, is very confusing.
There is no clear individual to get to know and like. Nor is there a real villian to dislike. Too many undeveloped characters with seemingly disconnected plots. It seems like each author was assigned a character and tried to develop action scenes for that character. Then the editor smashed the storylines together like mashed potatoes. Thus, the story wanders across this book like the Mongols did across the steppes.
Yet there is enough to keep me going. I have Book 2 and will continue there hoping things get better.
Luke Daniels as a narrator is just as effective as the book is written. Just meh.
Not horrible but not great. Just average.
Like most people, it was Neal Stephenson's name that drew me to this book. Then I read the description and it sounded like a great story, it however, falls short of that. It's not bad and it's not great, it's just okay. The story is interesting and has kept my interest despite the characters not having a lot of depth or development.
I don't mind the writing by committee so much, however, there are a few things about the writing that really stand out to me. One, the authors often use turns of phrase, idioms, common phrases, slang, whatever you want to call them that are common today but seem out of place for the mid 13th century. Not being a historian, I have no idea what common phrases were used in the time this story is set, but many of the phrases used by the authors feel out of place. The other thing that stands out to me is that the characters are pretty well learned and knowledgeable, and most of them speak multiple languages. Again, I'm not a historian, so maybe this was commonplace during this time, I don't know. It just seems kind of convenient.
The one huge thing about this book, and most other reviewers have commented on this, is the fact that the book just stops at the end. No story lines are tied up, wrapped up, or even sufficiently put in a decent position to be paused, the book just stops. I've already started listening to book two, and as I suspected, book two basically picks up where book one left off. It seems like, and I'll have to confirm this once I start book three, that they wrote one book and for some reason or another the decision was made to cut it up in multiple books after the fact.
Luke Daniels narration is pretty good, not great, but it is good.
Overall I liked the story enough to move right into book two. Ultimately it's a fictional tale and in that respect it's fun and entertaining.