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Genghis: Birth of an Empire | [Conn Iggulden]

Genghis: Birth of an Empire

He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon.
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Publisher's Summary

He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon. Along with his ferocious courage, it was the young warrior's ability to learn, to imagine, and to judge the hearts of others that propelled him to greater power, bending empires to his will.

©2007 Conn Iggulden; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Brilliantly imagined and addictive....Iggulden weaves a spellbinding story of an exotic and 'unforgiving land' and the enigmatic young man - charismatic, a brilliant tactician and capable 'of utter ruthlessness' - who sets out to tame it. This is historical fiction of the first order." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (894 )
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4.4 (522 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Penny K Palo Alto CA usa 11-27-13
    Penny K Palo Alto CA usa 11-27-13 Member Since 2006

    psyki

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Primitive Violence Galore"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    No way to redeem it, in my eyes. Genghis has been made into a character straight out of a JRR Martin novel. Perhaps this is historically correct, perhaps not. I did not enjoy the story.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Hmm. Good question. I keep returning to Ellis Peters and Patrick Tull to soothe my soul after a listen like this.
    I just enjoyed Harlan Coban's "Six Years" (despite its corny ending). Maybe I'll try another.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Actually, I appreciate the way the author generates images of the landscape of Mongolia. But I became very weary of all the violence. The author seemed to be aiming for sensationalism. I really don't like that attitude.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    AS I said above, the landscape is magnificent. And I believe that the narrator gave a credible and creditable performance.


    Any additional comments?

    No. I am really disappointed in the parts I was able to bear hearing of this book and I would like to return it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 01-03-13
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 01-03-13 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well-imagined history, unspectacular writing"

    I don’t think most modern people really appreciate how powerful the Mongol Empire was. It defeated the Chinese, who had the mightiest civilization of the day, and did the medieval equivalent of a blitzkrieg through European forces that got in its way (luckily for Europe, internal strife in the empire put an end to plans for a full-scale invasion).

    In this historical novel, Conn Iggulden attempts to tell the personal story of the legendary figure who made all that possible: Tejumin, AKA Genghis Khan. The book begins with Tejumin’s birth and childhood among the nomadic steppe people, when the Mongols were still a collection of disunified tribes, and explores his formative experiences and rise to respected war leader.

    Where the book sticks closely to history, it’s pretty riveting. Iggulden gives a good portrayal of life among a barbarian people, where strength, honor, loyalty, and reputation are everything (along with horses), and the environment is punishing of weakness. I can’t fault him for his grasp of sensory details, either -- I felt like I was right there on the steppes, with the bitter Mongolian winter winds, the pounding of horse hooves, the smell of mutton grease, and the flapping of hide tent covers.

    However, the novel’s strengths are not in character development, plotting, or dialog. It’s possible the author was trying not to take too many creative liberties with his sources, but if so, I wish he’d taken a few more. As it is, there’s not much to the story than Tejumin’s desire for revenge, allies, and building a bigger reputation, and other major characters have little to do besides make declarations of support or try to thwart him. At times, the drama reads like C grade fantasy. If Iggulden has thoughts on the suffering of the people on the receiving end of the Mongols’ slaughter, pillage, enslavement, and rape, they don’t rate more than a few sentences here and there. He seems to identify more with the leadership qualities he perceives in Genghis.

    In sum, not quite as good of a book as I’d hoped, but one I still enjoyed. The audiobook narrator does a good job, reading in a Homeric voice that makes the stilted dialogue a little less noticeable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Sparks, NY, United States 08-17-10
    John Sparks, NY, United States 08-17-10 Member Since 2008

    NV, not NY

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Welcome to Mogol Universe"

    This book helps answer the question of how a bunch of goat herders managed to conquer half of the world: they were the toughest S.O.B.'s on the planet. Conn Iggulden delivers a fascinating glimpse of the tough, rugged, and perilous life of the boy who would grow up to be one of the most brilliant military tactitions in history. I have no idea how historically accurate the story is; all I know is it's an amazing story, and I enjoyed every minute.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aurelie MONROE, NY, United States 01-01-10
    aurelie MONROE, NY, United States 01-01-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "bklyn316"

    I love historical books, fiction or non-fiction. This book drew me in right from the beginning. The author made you feel as if you were there. I wanted the story to continue. Just found out that it does!!! Can't wait to listen to them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 10-23-11
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Should I care?"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Caesar series. However, I found books 1 and 2 in the Genghis series to be much less compelling. While the writing is equally as good, the characters, (Temujin/Genghis in particular) are very one-dimensional. Perhaps this is an accurate rendering of the Khan's single minded drive for brutal conquest but I'm not sure that in the 21st century I need this much detail. Khan is depicted as a ruthless and hell-bent despot who cares not a whit for any one or any thing other than dominance of his enemy. After two books, I think I've had enough of that. I get the point of how one of history's greatest murderers conquered millions of peoples yet there's very little in these first two books to make me reflect on anything relating to a contemporary context or the motivations of a complicated character that makes me want to read (listen) to books three and four.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda n. Charleston, SC, United States 03-21-13
    Amanda n. Charleston, SC, United States 03-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Perfect narrator for a gripping story"
    Would you listen to Genghis again? Why?

    yes yes yes - the story was fantastic, and I cannot praise Stefan Rudnicki enough.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Genghis?

    This: blood mixed with mare's milk. :: shudder :: Also, the quest for the eagle, the constant struggle on the steppes, and Temujin's strength of character.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 03-04-13
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 03-04-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Well told History"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Genghis to be better than the print version?

    Loved this history of Genghis Khan. What a guy!
    I have read other histories and know that things aren't exactly correct in this telling, however, it is well worth the read.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Huntington, NY, United States 12-03-12
    Barbara Huntington, NY, United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Gripping story."
    Where does Genghis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've been interested in Mongolia, had heard the myths about Genghis Khan, and was glad to read an extended story about him. It paints him in a different light than the common attitude, and helps to explain why modern Mongolians consider him to be a national hero.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Genghis?

    Many scenes still stick in my mind: obtaining, then losing the eagle; the early privileges, being shunned, building community and power, invading China.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Reno, NV, United States 11-05-12
    Sandra Reno, NV, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A WINNER!"

    This is the back story on the famous and infamous Genghis Khan. I thought I was getting the typical historical fiction novel, a little history a little fiction to liven things up. Not so. He is much more of a story teller than Alison Wier, more like McMurty or Galbadon with his character development. There is a richness here that so many story tellers lack today.

    Iggulden's tale gives us an in depth picture of what life was like for the boy Tamogen and the impossible and hellish odd's he had to overcome to unite the Mongol tribes and become The Khan of Khan's. We feel the steps of China and fear the Tartars. We get heat from the bodies of the horses. We understand how a yurt works. We learn about tribal laws and functions. It's a quick read and worth every minute.

    Rudnicki's raspy voice was a little hard for me at the beginning but overall I thought it was a good fit for the time and place of the story. A rough voice for a brutal time.

    My husband "read" the story too and liked as much as I did.

    This one is a win win.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy United States 10-29-12
    Tammy United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Incredible - Genghis was a superb leader"
    What did you love best about Genghis?

    He overcame so many obstacles in life to build an incredible empire and he was loyal to those he loved.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Genghis - because he was so tenacious and followed thru even on difficult decisions


    Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but I would


    If you could rename Genghis, what would you call it?

    No need to rename it


    Any additional comments?

    Showed me how gifted this man was. So much more than just a barbarian.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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