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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.
37 of 37 people found this review helpful
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.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful