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Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Strong Addition to Genghis Series

    Conn Iggulden makes a splendid return to his 13th century world of Mongol dominance. "Conquerer" marks Iggulden's fifth book in his historical fiction series on Genghis Khan, his legacy, and the lasting cultural impact of his Mongol empire on the world.

    "Conquerer" focuses on one of Genghis' grandsons, Kublai Khan, who's probably most well known for his monumental interactions with explorer Marco Polo. Absent of the Marco Polo years, "Conquerer" explores the rise of Kublai Khan from a studious and intellectual youth, to a savvy general and Khan of one of the largest empires our world has ever seen.

    The first 120 pages set the stage for Kublai's assencion. Iggulden imagines the politics of the ugly internecine battles for leadership among Genghis' grandchildren (and their wives). The palace (and ger) intrigues expose Iggulden's deft writings skills outside the context of adventurous battle scenes. This may come as a disappointment to readers used to his magnificently large scale wars which come to the more patient reader further into the book.

    It's been a year since I read "Khan: Empire of Silver", the fourth book in the series which focuses on the reign of Genghis' son Ogedai, and Iggulden only provides the most subtle clues as to the back story of characters and family alliances. I had to shake the cobwebs to recapture where things had left off in the previous book and this may make things a little frustrating to the new reader. In the broader context of this sweeping tale, it makes little difference to the understanding of the story of Kublai.

    Kublai's brother Monkge assumes control of the Mongol Empire and returns to it the discipline and strength instilled initially by his grandfather Genghis. Mongke asks Kublai to put down his scrolls and pens and pick up a bow to finish his grandfather's work in China.

    In the book's second act, Iggulden shifts focus between the Mongol frontiers in the far west and south as we follow the parallel stories of Kublai and his brother Hulegu. As Kublai captures a small walled city in China, Hulegu prepares to take Baghdad, the light of the Muslim world. Iggulden writes each event from two perspectives: Kublai and the city's Prefect; Hulegu and Baghdad's Caliph. Each battlefront throughout the novel follows a similarly satisfying pair of perspectives.

    Hulegu is vicious and deceptive. Kublai has a keen intelligence while taking a very different approach to conquest. Hulegu is the very model of the Mongol reputation for unforgiving violence while Kublai takes a more measured approach by allowing those that surrender to live. He's slowly building out his future constituency, while Hulegu's ironfisted approach will ultimately lead to a strongly rebellious people and the ejection of the Mongols from the middle east.

    Kublai transforms from an intellectual into a battle-hardened, glory-seeking leader. His foundation of cultural intellectualism continues to drive him. Hulegu, like his predecessors, is very "foreign", cold, distant and harshly regal. Kublai is infinitely more relatable. He's loving father and husband, and his committed adoption to Chinese culture weighs heavily in his favor with the Chinese people.

    As always, Iggulden's writing is very big and bold. Dialogue is straight forward, but more subtle when Kublai is involved. Like the other books in this series, the reader is introduced to the world and culture of the

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    I've read all of Iggulden's books about the Mongols and hope thi

    I've read all of Iggulden's books about the Mongols and hope this not the last one. The author manages to capture my attention within the first page or two and keeps me entertained throughout. I appreciate his notes at the end which explain what is historical fact and what is conjecture. I have also read his series on ancient Rome. If you enjoy historical fiction, Iggulden is a must.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    One to check out!

    A nice read of how Kublai Khan comes to power and the path of what it takes to get there. I felt like I could relate to him in how he came across and dealt with opposition that came his way (felt almost like a Robin Hood in a way)... some chapters maybe a little stronger than others, but still a very enjoyable one to pick up :)

    Thank you for having this in a giveaway program (advanced reader's edition) also and giving me a chance to read and review this book :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    An excellent series

    This is the final book in the series, and while it may not be the best of them, it is a fitting conclusion to a great history. I've seen some criticize the ending as being incomplete, but I believe the author justifies his ending quite well in the epilogue. I encourage anyone with curiosity about the Mongol Khans and their history to read the entire series. Mr. Iggulden does a fine job of mixing storytelling with historical fact. It has been an entertaining education for this reader.

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  • Posted January 4, 2014

    great reading

    iggulden continues to be great writer that makes the words low. his research is well done. I can always buy and thoroughly enjoy his work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Epic is an understatement.

    Great series, great detail, great writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Download

    Where is the book

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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