©2007 Conn Iggulden; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"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)
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
I was not prepared for how much I would love this book. It caught me by surprise which may have added to my delight. The writing is superb, marked by clarity, consistently apt and powerful images, and a fine sense of pacing. Iggulden's command of the setting and detail allow you to relax and settle into this alien world without reservation. The story itself is compelling from beginning to end and has the unsettling ring of truth. This is a writer who can put deep historical research into human terms which allows us to live with characters we might otherwise find incomprehensible. The afterward, which detailed the historical underpinnings for the book, also surprised me since I had assumed the author had taken far more liberties with the factual record than he actually did. A WONDERFUL read though, as with Cornwell, the violence and gore are very much a part of the fabric of the story as they must be in order to convey authentically what it must have been to survive and thrive in such a harsh world.
The story is interesting but it is very difficult to keep up with the character names. Reading them rather than listening would be easier to keep track of them. It complicates it a little more by having narration by each character at varying times. The switch happens and you get confused whose thoughts and circumstances you are hearing
Is he a dot, or is he a speck? When he's underwater does he get wet? Or does the water get him instead? Nobody knows, Particle man.
Stefan Rudnicki is one of my favorite narrators. I chose this book for a listen primarily for that reason. He drew me into the story as he always does. No surprise there. The Mongol names and terms especially seem to flow naturally from his tongue. And I always admire how he can alter his mesmerizingly deep voice as required for different characters.
Having recently listened to a number of young adult stories (including Ender's Game, also narrated by Rudnicki), this book seemed almost to be a continuation of the trend. As the title suggests, this book begins like a coming of age story about the boy Temujin and ends with his metamorphosis into Ghengis, khan of several tribes.
Temujin is truly a captivating character. I was quite taken aback by the mountain of obstacles put against him and the ferocious courage, vision and key allies it required merely to survive at all. In fact I was so skeptical I did a little research on my own afterward to settle the truth of it in my mind. Satisfied that the facts were essentially true (in afterward the author also explains what he altered for purposes of the story), in retrospect I then found the story to be an even more captivating depiction of what the life must have been like in the family and tribes of Temujin and not just an enthralling story. It is a portrait of a people who value loyalty, honor and courage but who must also reconcile this with the ambition of the strong and the harsh necessities of an utterly unforgiving world.
I really enjoyed this book. The early years of Genghis Khan were totally unknown to me. This is a work of historical fiction but as the author says in the prologue he has used the best history available and done his research. The things he changed were minor and the story itself is a page turner. The only thing I knew about Genghis Khan was that he was a warlord of Huns that attacked and won against the great wall of China. This book has nothing to do with that, but is of his younger years. So interesting and scary that a young boy should endure this life. A good read you should not miss.
The author does an amazing job of potraying the gritty, brutal world that spawned Genghis. Focusing on the future conqueror's childhood and teen years, the book skillfully explores the events, influences and motivations that made Genghis who he was. Though often gruesome and bloody, the grisly details are not superfluous but part of the larger picture of the Mongol culture. Even for one who has read much about Genghis, this book was still enlightening and informative.
Realistic & Vocal
I listened to this book every chance I had. A wonderful historical novel. A glimpse into Mongolian life and culture at the turn of 13th century was fascinating. Well written and narrated. Although the deep voice of the narrator was overpowering at first, it became a natural part of the story. I liked it very much.
Absolutley an excellent Audiobook. From start to finish it is captivating.
This Historical Fiction has a story on the same lines as The Glatiator' On top gets betrayed, barely servives and then becomes a legend.
The facts about Temujin and his story stay true. If a second book comes out I will be in line for it.
Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts:Knowing about how the Mongols lived, helped create this really amazing story. It is brutal as was the life of the Mongol. Read wonderfully and written with a passion for history. I cant wait to read the next installments.
I don't write many reviews but this one deserves the high praise other reviews have given. I got this book not expecting much as many historical fiction books are somewhat dry. This story jumps from the page and you can imagine Genghis' world. The narrator is great too. I will be listening to all the other books by this author. You don't want to miss this one.
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