Conqueror 1. Emperor of the Plains by Conn Iggulden

He was born Temujin, the son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the rugged steppe. Temujin’s young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe and the abandonment of his entire family, cruelly left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured—and from that moment on, he was driven by a singular fury: to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies who could come without warning from beyond the horizon.
Through a series of courageous raids against the Tartars, Temujin’s legend grew. And so did the challenges he faced—from the machinations of a Chinese ambassador to the brutal abduction of his young wife, Borte. Blessed with ferocious courage, it was the young warrior’s ability to learn, to imagine, and to judge the hearts of others that propelled him to greater and greater power. Until Temujin was chasing a vision: to unite many tribes into one, to make the earth tremble under the hoofbeats of a thousand warhorses, to subject unknown nations and even empires to his will.

After the first 50 pages I wondered why I'd been so eager to read this. It was incredibly dull and just downright gross some of it (drinking fresh pony blood mixed with fresh pony milk - YUM). Thankfully I kept on reading and the plot picked up and it turned out rather good.

It starts out with Temujin's birth and childhood and moves on to his early adult years as he fights for all he believes in (survival and power) and starts to gather the tribes into one.

It's a bit hard following the story sometimes. Temujin's reasons for doing what he does is as such clear enough, but we never really get to know him properly and as such I for one felt a bit distanced to it all. I've never studied the history of Genghis Khan and as such it was very interesting to finally learn. I also much appreciated the epilogue Iggulden included where he highlights what's fiction and what's fact in his story so far. Iggulden actually travelled around rural Mongolia to gather the information for the books.

The Conqueror series consists of a total of four books; Wolf of the Plains (2007) (also known as Birth of an Empire), Lords of the Bow (2008), Bones of the Hills (2008) and Empire of Silver (2010).

659 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011


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