Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Temujin, the son of Yesugei, khan of the Wolves, goes to a neighboring tribe to find a wife. While he's away, his father is murdered by a gang of Tartars. Worse still, his father's friend usurps the role of khan and leaves Temujin and his family to die on the steppe. Can Temujin and his family survive long enough to get revenge on the Tartars and regain control of the Wolves?
The story of Temujin and his rise to uniting the tribes against the Tartars is a powerful one. Temujin goes through a lot of hell from the age of twelve onward, from being abandoned on the steppe during winter, to being imprisoned in a pit and being urinated on, to having his wife kidnapped and raped by Tartars. Once he started uniting the tribes, even I felt like riding with the young khan. While he's not always likeable, he's definitely a charismatic character.
The action scenes were by far the highlight of the book. People get peppered with arrows or hacked to death by swords on a fairly regular basis. While Iggulden plays fast and loose with history, it's still a great story. And since I'm already aware I'm reading fiction, I don't really care about historical accuracy. Iggulden's writing makes for an engaging read. You will not easily be able to put this down.
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