Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lords of the Bow - Conn Iggulden

Lords of the Bow
Conn Iggulden
HarperCollins
Copyright: 2008
978-0007201778

The Amazon.com product description:
The gathering of the tribes of the Mongols has been a long time in coming but finally, triumphantly, Temujin of the Wolves, Genghis Khan, is given the full accolade of the overall leader and their oaths. Now he can begin to meld all the previously warring people into one army, one nation. But the task Genghis has set himself and them is formidable. He is determined to travel to the land of the long-time enemy, the Chin and attack them there. The distances and terrain-the wide deserts, the impenetrable mountains-make it a difficult venture even for the legendary Mongolian speed of movement, but the greatest problem is that of the complex fortifications, a way of fighting wars of a settled urban population which the nomadic Mongolians had never come across. Finding ways to tackle that and keeping his tribes together in a strange environment presents another new and exciting challenge for Genghis Khan.

Not only must Genghis succeed in this incredible campaign, but he must also reconcile the restless factions among his own generals, mediate between his ambitious brothers and cope with his own reactions to his growing sons. The young warrior has become a notable and victorious military commander of thousands: he must now learn to become a great leader of peoples of many different races and religions.

Lords of the Bow is a deeply satisfying novel. It is epic in scope, convincing, and fascinating in the narration of an extraordinary story. Above all Genghis Khan continues to dominate the scene as he matures from the young boy of Wolf of the Plains to the great Conqueror.
Lords of the Bow is the sequel to Wolf of the Plains, the first book in this series about Gengis Khan. I honestly have to say that it's just as good, if not a bit better. Where that first book was about his childhood and his struggles to survive with just his mother and siblings, in Lords of the Bow, we see the period when Gengis first unites the Mongolian tribes under his leadership. And then, his campaign into China - both the successes and the failures.

It's a wider cast of characters and landscapes, all well described and vivid. At the same time, there are more viewpoint characters to show it with: Opposing Generals and kings, Gengis' children and brothers, his wives and more. On the other hand, I found with the grander field, that there was more statesmanship and big things and less of Gengis' personal life, worries and thoughts than there were in the first book.

Still a great story, just a bit different, but I definitely liked it. More than once, I found myself reading as I walked from the bus stop - not a great thing to do where there are no sidewalks. But, I had to know what happened next.

There's definitely going to be at least two more books in the series: Bones of the Hills, which is already out in mass-market paperback, and one more that comes out this fall.
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