Khan: Empire of Silver (Genghis Khan: Conqueror Series #4)

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From the author of the bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys
The Great Khan is dead—and his vast empire, forged through raw courage, tactical brilliance, and indomitable force, hangs in the balance. Now, with the sons of Genghis Khan maneuvering for supremacy, the very qualities that united the fierce Mongol tribes threaten to tear them apart.

Genghis’s tough and canny heir, Ogedai, is on the verge of...

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Khan: Empire of Silver: A Novel of the Khan Empire

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From the author of the bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys
The Great Khan is dead—and his vast empire, forged through raw courage, tactical brilliance, and indomitable force, hangs in the balance. Now, with the sons of Genghis Khan maneuvering for supremacy, the very qualities that united the fierce Mongol tribes threaten to tear them apart.

Genghis’s tough and canny heir, Ogedai, is on the verge of becoming the new Khan. Inexplicably, Ogedai has delayed his coronation to complete a project many deem a folly: the building of Karakorum, a magnificent city amid the wild plains. His decision emboldens his arrogant brother Chagatai to violently challenge him, leaving their noble sibling Tolui caught between them. Yet even as they clash, the Khan’s armies extend his reach farther than ever before, into southern China and across the rugged mountains of Russia to the vulnerable heart of Europe, where the most courageous warriors the West commands await the coming onslaught.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Iggulden has created another rip-roaring historical.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is alpha-male fiction. . . . the book has much to teach about a time and a people long shrouded in legend.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Well written and well researched . . . a delicious pleasure for anyone who likes roaring, violent, and dramatic historical fiction.”—Library Journal
Empire of Silver serves as confirmation that Iggulden’s majestic series has developed into an historical fiction master class.”—Yorkshire Evening Post

Publishers Weekly
Iggulden's smashing fourth installment to his Mongol series (Genghis: Bones of the Hills, etc.) picks up after Genghis's death as his three sons and four grandsons vie to be the Mongol leader. After son Ogedai is named khan, one of his brothers offers himself as a sacrifice; the other is dispatched to rule a distant kingdom; and the four grandsons begin to hatch schemes of their own. While the khan builds the city of Karakorum, his armies fight the Chinese in the east and discover the enemy's effective use of gunpowder against the Mongol horse archers. In the west, a mighty Mongol army commanded by Genghis's best general, Tsubodai, crushes the Russians and the Poles in a series of brilliant campaigns, and as the Mongol horde sacks the cities of Buda and Pest, only the arrival of a disastrous message from Karakorum saves Europe from destruction and Mongol domination. Add assassinations (failures and successes), jealousy, treachery, revenge, betrayal, and surprising plot twists, and Iggulden has created another rip-roaring historical that accurately depicts the cruelty of the age. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Genghis Khan has been dead for two years in this new entry (after Genghis: Bones of the Hills) in Iggulden's historical series about the Mongol Empire. While his anointed heir, Ogedai, has been acting as Great Khan, he has not been officially proclaimed by the tribes. As can be expected, others are waiting for the sickly Ogedai to fail or die. Ogedai stubbornly lives on, is crowned, and directs his armies to do what they do best—conquer. Mongol armies head toward Europe and armored knights. VERDICT Well written and well researched, this is a delicious pleasure for anyone who likes roaring, violent, and dramatic historical fiction. Iggulden has developed a knack for breathing life into otherwise fairly obscure historical characters while maintaining the logic of their personas. Knowledgeable readers know that it is not the end of the Mongols, particularly since the young Kublai Khan waits in the wings. [Library marketing.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385344258
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Series: Genghis Khan: Conqueror Series, #4
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 100,757
  • Product dimensions: 7.92 (w) x 5.24 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden is the author of three previous novels about Genghis Khan—Genghis: Birth of an Empire; Genghis: Lords of the Bow; and Genghis: Bones of the Hills—as well as the Emperor novels, which chronicle the life of Julius Caesar. He is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Dangerous Book of Heroes. He lives with his wife and children in Hertfordshire, England.

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Read an Excerpt


The air swirled with marble dust that glittered as it caught the evening sun. Ogedai's heart was full as he guided his horse down the main thoroughfare, taking in every sight and sound around him. There was a sense of urgency in the cacophony of hammer blows and shouted orders. The Mongol tumans had gathered outside the city. His generals, his people, had been summoned there to see what two years of labor had created: a city in a wilderness, with the Orkhon River tamed and bent to his will.

Ogedai reined in for a moment to watch a group of workmen unload a cart. Nervous under his gaze, the laborers used ropes, pulleys, and sheer numbers to maneuver blocks of white marble onto low sledges that could be dragged into the workshops. Each milky block was subtly veined in a light blue that pleased Ogedai. He owned the quarry that had birthed the stones, hundreds of miles to the east, just one of a thousand purchases he had made in the last years.

There was no doubt he had been extravagant, spending gold and silver as if it had no value. He smiled at the thought, wondering what his father would have made of the white city rising in the wilderness. Genghis had despised the anthills of humanity, but these were not the ancient stones and teeming streets of an enemy. This was new and it belonged to the nation.

There had never been a treasury like the one he had inherited, amassed from the wealth of China and Khwarezm, yet never spent by its khan. With the tribute from Yenking alone, Ogedai could have sheathed every new home in white marble or even jade if he had wanted. He had built a monument to his father on the plains, as well as a place where he himself could be khan. He had built a palace with a tower that rose above the city like a white sword, so that all men could see the nation had come far from simple gers and herds.

For his gold, a million men had come to work. They had crossed plains and deserts with just a few animals and tools, coming from as far off as Chin lands or the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Kabul. Masons and carpenters from Koryo had made the journey, called to the west by rumors of a new city being built on a river of coins. Bulgars brought stocks of rare clays, charcoal, and hardwood in great caravans from their forests. The city filled with traders, builders, potters, foodsellers, thieves, and scoundrels. Farmers scenting a profit brought their carts for days of travel, all for the strings of metal coins. Ogedai gave them gold and silver from the earth, melted and shaped. In return they gave him a city, and he did not find it a bad bargain. For the present, they were the colorful crowds of his city, speaking a hundred tongues and cooking a thousand different foods and spices. Some of them would be allowed to stay, but he was not building it for them.

Ogedai saw green-handed dyers flatten themselves against the walls, their red turbans dipping in respect. His Guards cleared the way ahead, so the son of Genghis could ride almost in a dream. He had made this place from the camp of gers his father had known. He had made it real, in stone.

It still amazed him. He had not paid for women to travel with his workers, but they had come with their husbands and fathers. He had wondered for a time how he would establish the businesses every city needed to thrive, but traders had approached his chancellor, offering horses or more silver to lease new properties. The city was more than a simple collection of houses. Already it had a vitality of its own, far beyond his control.

Yet not completely. A quirk in the plans had created an area of small alleyways in the south of his city. Criminal gangs had begun to flourish there until Ogedai heard. He had ordered eight hundred buildings torn down, the whole area redesigned and rebuilt. His own Guard had supervised the hangings.

The street fell quiet as he passed, the laborers and their masters bowing their heads as they saw the man who held the power of life and death and gold over all of them. Ogedai took a deep breath of the dusty air, enjoying the taste of it on his tongue and the thought that he was literally breathing in his creation. Ahead, he could see the towers of his palace, crowned in a dome of gold beaten thinner than the paper of his scribes. It raised his spirits to see it, like sunlight trapped and held in his city.

The street widened as it grew before him, its stone gutters polished. That section had been finished months before and the bustling crowds of laborers fell behind. As Ogedai trotted on, he could not help glancing at the boundary walls that had so confused his Chin architects and laborers. Even from the low vantage point of a saddle, there were moments when he could see over them to the green plains beyond. The walls of Yenking had not saved that city from fire or siege, he knew. His walls were the warriors of the khan, the tribes who had brought a Chin emperor to his knees and razed a shah's cities.

Already, Ogedai loved his creation, from the vast expanse of the central training ground, to the red-tiled roofs, the paved gutters, the temples and churches and mosques and markets and homes by the thousand, most still empty and waiting for life. Scraps of blue cloth fluttered in the plains wind on every corner, a tribute to the sky father above them all. In the south, green foothills and mountains stretched far away and the air was warm with dust as Ogedai rejoiced in Karakorum.

The twilight was deepening into a soft gloom as Ogedai handed his reins to a servant and strode up the steps to his palace. Before he entered, he looked back once more at the city straining to be born. He could smell fresh-turned earth and, over it, the fried food of the workmen on the evening air. He had not planned the herds of livestock in corrals beyond the walls, or the squawking chickens sold on every corner. He thought of the wool market that had sprung up by the western gate. He should not have expected trade to halt simply because the city was unfinished. He had chosen a spot on an ancient traders' road to give it life—and life had begun pouring in while whole streets, whole districts, were still piles of lumber, tile, and stone.

As he looked into the setting sun, he smiled at the cooking fires on the plains surrounding the city. His people waited there, for him. His armies would be fed on rich mutton, dripping fat from the summer grass. It reminded him of his own hunger, and he moistened his lips as he passed through a stone gate the equal of anything in a Chin city.

In the echoing hall beyond, he paused for a moment at his most extravagant gesture. A tree of solid silver stretched gracefully up to the arched ceiling, where the center point was open to the sky like the ger of any herdsman. It had taken the silversmiths of Samarkand almost a year to cast and polish, but it served his purpose. Whoever entered his palace would see it and be staggered at the wealth it represented. Some would see an emblem for the silver people, the Mongol tribes who had become a nation. Those with more wisdom would see that the Mongols cared so little for silver that they used it as a casting metal.

Ogedai let his hand slide down the bole of the tree, feeling the metal chill his fingers. The spreading branches reached out in a parody of life, gleaming like a white birch in moonlight. Ogedai nodded to himself. He stretched his back as lamps were lit by slaves and servants all around him, throwing black shadows and making the evening seem suddenly darker outside.

He heard hurrying footsteps and saw his manservant, Baras'aghur, approaching. Ogedai winced at the man's keen expression and the bundle of papers under his arm.

"After I have eaten, Baras. It has been a long day."

"Very well, my lord, but you have a visitor: your uncle. Shall I tell him to wait on your pleasure?"

Ogedai paused in the act of unbuckling his sword belt. All three of his uncles had come to the plains around Karakorum at his order, gathering their tumans in great camps. He had forbidden them all from entering the city, and he wondered who would have disobeyed him. He suspected it would be Khasar, who regarded orders and laws as tools for other men rather than himself.

"Who is it, Baras?" Ogedai asked quietly.

"Lord Temuge, master. I have sent servants to tend him, but he has been waiting now for a long time."

Baras'aghur made a gesture to indicate a sweep of the sun in the sky, and Ogedai pursed his lips in irritation. His father's brother would be well aware of the nuances of hospitality. Simply by arriving when Ogedai was not there to greet him, he had created an obligation. Ogedai assumed it was deliberate. A man like Temuge was too subtle not to grasp the slightest advantage. Yet the order had gone out for the generals and princes to remain on the plains.

Ogedai sighed. For two years, he had readied Karakorum to be the jewel in an empire. His had been a splendid isolation and he had maneuvered to keep it so, his enemies and friends always off balance. He had known it could not last forever. He steeled himself as he walked after Baras'aghur to the first and most sumptuous of his audience rooms.

"Have wine brought to me immediately, Baras. And food—something simple, such as the warriors are eating on the plain."

"Your will, my lord," his servant said without listening, his thoughts on the meeting to come.

The footsteps of the two men were loud in the silent halls, clicking and echoing back to them. Ogedai did not glance at the painted scenes that usually gave him so much pleasure. He and Baras'aghur walked under the best work of Islamic artists, and it was only toward the end that Ogedai looked up at a blaze of color, smiling to himself at the image of Genghis leading a charge at the Badger's Mouth pass. The artist had asked a fortune for a year's work, but Ogedai had doubled his price when he saw it. His father still lived on those walls, as well as in his memory. There was no art of painting in the tribes he knew, and such things could still make him gasp and stand in awe. With Temuge waiting, however, Ogedai barely nodded to his father's image before sweeping into the room.

The years had not been kind to his father's brother. Temuge had once been as fat as a feasting calf, but then lost the weight rapidly, so that his throat sagged into flaps of skin and he looked far older than his years. Ogedai looked at his uncle coldly as he rose from a silk-covered chair to greet him. It was an effort to be courteous to a man who represented the end of his time apart. He had no illusions. The nation waited impatiently for him and Temuge was just the first to breach his defenses.

"You are looking well, Ogedai," Temuge said.

He came forward as if he might embrace his nephew, and Ogedai struggled with a spasm of irritation. He turned away to Baras, letting his uncle drop his arms unseen.

"Wine and food, Baras. Will you stand there, staring like a sheep?"

"My lord," Baras'aghur replied, bowing immediately. "I will have a scribe sent to you to record the meeting."

He left at a run and both men could hear the slave's sandals clattering into the distance.

Temuge frowned delicately. "This is not a formal visit, Ogedai, for scribes and records."

"You are here as my uncle then? Not because the tribes have selected you to approach me? Not because my scholar uncle is the one man whom all the factions trust enough to speak to me?"

Temuge flushed at the tone and the accuracy of the remarks. He had to assume Ogedai had as many spies in the great camps as he had himself. That was one thing the nation had learned from the Chin. He tried to judge his nephew's mood, but it was no easy task. Ogedai had not even offered him salt tea. Temuge swallowed drily as he tried to interpret the level of censure and irritation in the younger man.

"You know the armies talk of nothing else, Ogedai." Temuge took a deep breath to steady his nerves. Under Ogedai's pale yellow eyes, he could not shake the idea that he was reporting to some echo of Genghis. His nephew was softer in body than the great khan, but there was a coldness in him that unnerved Temuge. Sweat broke out on his forehead.

"For two years, you have ignored your father's empire—" Temuge began.

"Do you think that is what I have done?" Ogedai interrupted.

Temuge stared at him. "What else am I to think? You left the families and tumans in the field, then built a city while they herded sheep. For two years, Ogedai!" He lowered his voice almost to a whisper. "There are some who say your mind has broken with grief for your father."

Ogedai smiled bitterly to himself. Even the mention of his father was like tearing the scab off a wound. He knew every one of the rumors. He had started some of them himself, to keep his enemies jumping at shadows. Yet he was the chosen heir of Genghis, the first khan of the nation. The warriors had almost deified his father, and Ogedai was certain he had nothing to fear from mere gossip in the camps. His relatives were a different matter.

The door swung open to reveal Baras'aghur and a dozen Chin servants. In moments, they had surrounded the two men, placing bronze cups and food on a crisp white cloth before them. Ogedai gestured for his uncle to sit cross-legged on the tiled floor, watching with interest as the older man's knees creaked and made him wince. Baras'aghur sent the servants away and then served tea to Temuge, who accepted the bowl in relief with his right hand, sipping as formally as he would have in any ger of the plains. Ogedai watched eagerly as red wine gurgled into his own cup. He emptied it quickly and held it out before Baras'aghur could move away.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 90 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 93 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Very good

    Very good series. I find out a lot of good history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Awesome historical fiction...

    The incredible sags continues...

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Historical Fiction at its Best

    This 4th installment to the series is a great read. With every page, I learn history through fiction, the best way. I rate Conn Iggulden up there with Gary Jennings, the master of historical fiction. I have already bought book #5, The Conqueror.

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  • Posted April 26, 2012

    Incredibly barbaric, it is a story worth reading. This entire s

    Incredibly barbaric, it is a story worth reading. This entire series has captured the imagination and I can't wait to read the Conqueror.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mongul City and a Drive into Europe...

    Empire of Silver is book four of Conn Iggulden’s outstanding series about the founder of the Mongul Empire, Genghis Khan, and his sons and grandsons. While it is not absolutely necessary to read the other books in order to read this one, I would highly recommend it, and if you would like to read the others you really do want to read them in order.

    Similar to the previous novel, this one travels to the far reaches of the empire, from China to Hungary to Afghanistan, which adds a good deal of cultural interest as you begin to see some of the Mongul culture of the steppes fade and the learning and refinement of the vanquished peoples sink into the conquering warriors. In the course of this novel the last of Genghis’ brothers and sons die and the khanate passes into the hands of his grandson, with the continued guidance of Genghis’ venerable general Tsubodai.

    As usual for all these novels, women’s roles are significant-an element of the book supported as factual by the extensive author’s note-making what might be a rather testosterone laden read very engaging for the ladies as well. It is often difficult to find historical fiction written in a way that appeals to both men and women. With his combination of Mongul warriors and strong female characters it struck me that this would be the perfect audio for a couple on a road trip together (although I can not speak for the audio, as I have read all four in print).

    The only element that kept this from being a five star read for me was that there was not a lot of suspense to it. There were a couple of events towards the end that were unexpected (one, I will admit, was exceedingly so!), but overall, things flowed along a predictable course. Exciting and fast paced, but predictable.

    This is a fantastic series about a seldom touched topic, and I highly recommend it for all readers, both male and female, who want to expand their knowledge of the Middle Ages beyond the borders of Europe (this novel takes place in the early thirteenth century). The clash of the well-known battle tactics of Knights Templar against those of the Golden Horde makes for some pretty exciting reading. The fifth and final novel in the series, [b]Conqueror[/b], was released in the United States in December of 2011. It focuses primarily on Kublai Khan and the eastern half of the Mongul Empire, but also wraps up the story of his cousins and the western half, or Golden Horde. Stay tuned, as I will certainly be reviewing that one in the near future.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommend check it out!!

    =The Empire of Silver picks up several years after the death of the nation-builder Genghis Khan. Khan's son Ogedei is has been named his successor, but not to the liking of many, including his brother Chagatai. This creates some early palace intrigue and action, all in all this book deserves a five star rating for Igguldens use of words to make it seem like your really there with Ogedai and the rest of them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    It was alright

    Was not as good or interesting as the first three books. This book did not capture my interest or attention. Some parts dragged too long. Did not know what story the author was trying to tell.
    Sounded like he ran out of ideas. Hope the next one will be better.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011


    Not as good as the first three but still enjoyable.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    The whole series is a great read

    Bought the first book and found myself waiting for the next.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    read this book

    could not put it down.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A very enjoyable and insightful book.

    This is the kind reading I extremely enjoy. The book presents a great story while giving a wonderful lesson of an important if not very profound period of history. Conn Iggulden treats the reader to a story with not only an engaging plot with great pacing but keeps the history very accurate and provides insightful historical speculation. The novel takes place post Genghis Khan during a turbulent period of Mongol history where political maneuvering to secure and maintain power of the Mongol Empire is pursued and a military campaign of the most profound proportions almost succeeds in changing all history as we know it. Mr. Iggulden includes a map, a list of characters and excellent historical notes to enhance the readers enjoyment. I'm putting Mr. Iggulden's other historical novels/series on my wish list. A very enjoyable read that I recommend highly especially for history and military buffs.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    A fascinating sojourn in a little known (to westerners) time and place

    I received this book as a free ARC from the publisher through an Early Reviewers Program. The opinions are my own. Conn Iggulden (author of the Emperor series on the life of Julius Caesar) brings us the fourth in his Conqueror series covering the history of the Mongols. The book begins with a very unhorde-like activity.building a city. But quickly moves into palace intrigues as Genghis' heir, the ailing Ogedai, moves to thwart his brother's attempt to assassinate him and take over the assembled nation. From there, Iggulden takes us on a roaring ride-all battles, military strategy, and new weapons (including proto-cannons)-lots of blood, death, and unimaginable destruction. Not having lived in, or studied, this time period, I couldn't say if it accurately reflects the thinking of the time, but it felt visceral and grounded in the known facts. Iggulden makes good use of everyday details from food, drink, clothes, geography and shamanism to build a world and give us access to it. The settings are sweeping, the descriptions vivid and the myriad characters well-rounded. The story concentrates on that transitional period between Genghis and Kublai as the remaining brothers, sons and grandsons fight and connive for the succession. Very few women make an appearance. The major exception is Sorhatani, the wife of Genghis' youngest son and the formidable mother of Kublai (later the Great Khan.) Upon her husband's death, she is given his titles and rights, making her one of the most powerful women of the times. Hopefully we'll have more of her in the next book. The most fascinating part, for me, was the Mongol invasion of Europe under the great general Tsubodai. He came across as believable: loyal, ruthless, brilliant at both war and politics. But also tragic, in that with all his gifts, he had no heirs and would never take a ruling role. The strong right arm of Genghis and Ogedai, he was the military power behind the throne. I had a real sense of the terror felt by the Europeans as the Golden Horde destroyed one army after another and slaughtered the people of any city that failed to surrender. The walled cities of Russia, Poland, and Hungary all fell during Tsubodai's march toward the Atlantic in the mid-13th Century. He had scouts that reached Italy and France. Only the death of a single man, resulting in the continuing struggle for an empire, saved Western Europe from utter destruction; according to Iggulden. Before reading this book, I knew Iggulden only by reputation. Historical fiction readers on some sites extolled his story telling, but felt he played a little fast and loose with historic facts in his Roman series. I've studied the Roman Late Republic and Empire extensively and hate it when an author makes an obvious goof or chooses to ignore known facts. It rips me right out of the story. Luckily, I know little about the Khanates other than a few bald facts, so any errors or stretches went over my head and I concentrated on the story-which was fascinating. Iggulden also provided an extensive historical note talking about his sources and where he "filled in" gaps in the history; probably as a response to earlier criticism. Altogether, I enjoyed my break from the Roman world. This was a fun sojourn in a little known (to westerners) time and place. I'd recommend Empire of Silver to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, adventure fiction. I might even pick up one of Iggulden's Roman books!

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Blood Pumping, Action Packed Historical Fiction

    "It was his father's nation and creation, his father's vision of a people: horse and warrior, sword and bow together."

    Conn Igguldon returns to the Mongol world of Genghis Khan and his family in "Khan: Empire of Silver". "Empire" is blood-pumping, action-packed, and built upon a foundation of relate-ably human stories.

    Iggulden paints a wonderfully vibrant landscape with his series of Genghis Khan novels. He writes boldly descriptive battle scenes, while crafting nuanced dialogue that deftly avoids sounding stilted or forced. In "Empire", the depth of his characters rise well above typical mass market fiction. It's not an easy task to build fully fleshed individuals out of so many characters, and within a story with such an action-heavy motif.

    "Empire of Silver" picks up several years after the death of the nation-builder Genghis Khan. Khan's son Ogedei is has been named his successor, but not to the liking of many, including his brother Chagatai. This creates some early palace intrigue and action, before the story shifts sites to a pair of bloody and intense battlefronts. In the south the Mongols continue their expansion into "Chin" territory, and in the west, the "Golden Horde" swarms over the Russian steppe, and then into Europe.

    The battle scenes are epic. In Iggulden's hands, the bitter cold of the Asian plains blows right off the page; the acrid smell of gun powder is chokingly strong; thousands of arrows falling from the sky are chest-thumpingly realistic. The battles shift from one point of view to another...first to a Mongolian campaign general calculating, watching, planning; then to a Mongolian field general emptying a quiver of arrows into enemy warriors; then to a European soldier, pushed forward by the sheer force of bodies behind him, fighting desperately for his home while battling the overwhelming fear that precedes the Mongols.

    Iggulden spins a terrific tale. The plots and subplots are clear and read as fast as a Mongolian warrior riding across the Asian steppe. Genghis' two brothers, Khasar and Kachiun, as well as his uber-General Tsubodai, continue to play prominent roles in this book. But they shift from the stolid workhorses of the Khan's world, into aging and reflective leaders. While Ogedai rules from afar, a new generation of Genghis' progeny steps into the generational void on the western battlefront. Batu, Baidur and Mongke shine the brightest among Genghis' grandchildren, but a young Kublai makes an appearance setting up the next two books in Iggulden's ongoing series.

    A great historical fiction combines terrific storytelling with historical realism. Iggulden's writing is smooth and his descriptive powers robust. His historical approach is solid and detailed despite his free use of timeframes and certain events (which he freely admits in his historical end notes). While following the path that world history has laid out, Iggulden also pulls readers into the day-to-day existence of the Mongol elite and military. It's a world of felt tents called gers, quilt deels, and in extreme times, drinking the blood of ones' own horse.

    The book is strong as a stand-alone, however the background of his previous novels is helpful and the ending is clearly structured to set up the next in the series - something I'll look forward to with great anticipation.

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