In the late 19th century, a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados provided Sir Richard F. Burton, well-known expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, a collection of long-lost manuscripts to translate. Burton’s work was subsequently misplaced, only to be discovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Treiste.
From Burton's translations and the original source material, the epic tale of The Mongoliad was recreated. The story chronicles the journey of a small band of warriors and mystics as they fight to save Europe from the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century. It also exposes the secret workings of powerful clandestine societies that have been driving world events for millennia.
This fascinating and enthralling first novel in The Mongoliad trilogy fuses historical events with a gripping fictional narrative. Co-written by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, E. D. deBirmingham, Mark Teppo, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo, The Mongoliad: Book One is an unforgettable epic.
©2012 Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, E. D. deBirmingham, Mark Teppo, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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.
maybe, once they finish the story.
This book just stops abruptly and tells us that it is the end of Book 1.
The tale might be worth a listen. It seems to be a good start. But this is not a complete "Book".
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
???The Mongoliad??? came as a surprise to me. Originating as a ???cloud??? collaboration from a team of noted authors, this alternate history saga of ???The Foreworld??? has apparently been going on in multimedia format for a while (see the mongoliad website). But this book, the first of a trilogy (a trilogy that is apparently already close to complete, which is always a good thing), stands alone as a novel. Describing the newly published book in an Amazon interview, coauthor Mark Teppo says that ???the three volumes of The Mongoliad have been polished, re-structured, and re-edited into the definitive edition of the narrative ??? [that] is the authors' preferred text. ??? We're old school that way. It's done when you put it on the shelf.??? Good news for readers everywhere!
The prose style of this adventure epic combines history-based fiction with the world-building of fantasy and science fiction, with the wordsmithing genius of Neal Stephenson definitely an influence. The first couple of chapters were a little muddled, but once I got the sense and rhythm of the story, the many characters and their strange names fell into place and it became amazingly easy to follow. Feeling the lack of maps, I confess I scanned the Wikipedia entries on the ???Mongol invasion of Europe??? and ???Mongolian Empire??? to gain some context, and found them useful. It???s a fascinating and fast-moving tale, if gruesome and full of cruelty. The Mongols were not kind to the people they conquered or to the cities they overran, usually wiping out both with chilling completeness. They left few survivors in their wake, and the fact that western and Mediterranean Europe (including France, Spain, Italy, the Low Countries and even the British Isles) were spared their onslaught is, I suspect, going to be a big piece of the mosaic this trilogy will create.
Regarding the narration, as I think most people who have listened to the ???Iron Druid??? books will agree, Luke Daniels can read to me anytime.
Really good story, but just way too many characters with difficult to remember names, who each played almost important roles as each other, that it was a little difficult to keep track of everyone.
Bought this because Neal Stephenson's name was attached. I don't know how this collaboration was structured, but the writing was uniformly awful, nothing like any of his other writing I've read. Sophomoric vocabulary substitutions, awkward archaic sentence structure applied unevenly, extended minutely descriptive passages that added nothing to story, plot, or visualization of scene, to the point where I wonder if they were being paid by the word. Stephenson's reputation is built in part on his extensive research, but good research can't cover for bad writing.
This is one of the few books I've bought without sampling the audio. Never again! While Luke Daniels is master of many character voices which are consistent over the span of the book, and there are many small parts that make short appearances widely spaced, his characterizations feel like English overdubbing of 2nd rate anime, which sadly matches the 2nd rate pulp feel of the writing here.
I suffered to the end just to get to see if the plot would rise to some sort of satisfactory point of resolution, but it ends abruptly, like an attempt at a game of thrones episode, but not even a season, cliff hanger.
If you want a well researched novel in a similar time frame with much better writing, more nuanced characters and plot, and a much better more fleshed out and sympathetic female supporting character, seek out Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven. It's everything this book should have been. And Simon Vance is so much better as a narrator.
A while back I was listening to a podcast (I wish I could remember which one) where they were interviewing Neal Stephenson. Neal’s been one of my favorite authors since I read Snow Crash almost twenty years ago. The main material in the podcast was over his then most recent work Anathem, but what stuck out to me at the time was his interest in ancient weapons and fighting techniques. He later got together with several (many, if truth be told) authors with a similar fascination. They decided to work on a collaborative effort which involved a realistic world where many of these forgotten martial arts could be put on display in word form. Thus was birthed the first book in the Foreworld Saga: The Mongoliad.
I’ll list all the authors since I’m sure they all want credit: Erik Bear, Greg Bear, Joseph Brassey, E. D. deBirmingham, Cooper Moo, Neal Stephenson, and Mark Teppo. They combine to tell the fairly straightforward tale in 13th century Europe and Asia. There are dual storylines in play – one in Asia where a young warrior is trying to save the Mongolian Empire from courtly corruption and one in Europe following a band of knights on their quest to kill the Khan of Khans. The tales thread back and forth throughout the book with zero overlap and without much thought to pacing. There is however quite a bit of – I’m sure fairly historical – fighting and war-making. Unfortunately all the martial prowess cannot make up for the lack of actual plot.
The book started off slow, but picked up with some early character development. This however played out into a story that went nowhere. Half of this book is supposed to be a knightly quest, yet the heroes never went anywhere significant. The other half is supposed to deal with courtly machinations and intrigue, but only got as far as some thin innuendo. This book did have some interesting characters and seemed to set up some clever plot ideas, but ultimately the story just stops without anything coming to fruition. I’m not sure if this had to do with the multiplicity of authors or the foreknowledge of sequels to come, but typically there is some payoff at the end of a volume that makes you want to follow up. This book provided none. I have some curiosity to see what becomes of some of the characters, but probably not enough to take the time to find out.
I have looked at the Foreworld website, and in the past couple of years, they have put out many sequels and “side-quest” stories. There must be some depth to the series, I just wish this talented group of authors could have done a better job of introducing the world to the reader. Read this only if you have time to spare.
3.5 stars out of 10
What a brilliant, engaging story! Such an involved, intricate plot and the characters are just fabulous. I bought the next book as soon as I finished this one and pre-ordered the third straight after that. Just a fantastic book, I can't wait for the third!
Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. A circle of friends on an impossible mission.
Great character voices.
Probably not - too long.
This is not literature, this is a supplemental reading to a computer game. On a brighter side, there are 'binders' and they are 'full of women.'
Wow, grabs you from the start and keeps hold of you. I honestly couldn't stop listening.
The book is fun and informative, great characters and break-neck pace. You won't be sorry you listened,
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