The latest in Conn Iggulden’s series on Genghis Khan and his descendants, this novel focuses primarily on Kublai Khan, and his transformation from gentle scholar to Mongol warrior.
This book contains all the elements of the others: great medieval battle scenes, intrigue as family members vie for the khanate, and glimpses into the Mongol culture-including its strong women. Kublai comes through as clearly one of history’s greatest khans, and both his private and public sides are ably etched. Although you do not absolutely need to read all the books in order, I would recommend it, as it will give useful background information which will enhance the reading of the later books.
A fantastic writer, Iggulden’s books are well researched; you settle easily into the ambience of a Mongol camp or city. The plot is fast paced, but despite shifting lines, there is never any confusion, even in the audio, as to which plot thread you have jumped into. His characters seem to step right off the pages of history and into their own distinct personalities.
I finally listened to one of these Khan books on audio, and I must say, I did enjoy it. It was nice to have all the names, after four books, pronounced for me; perhaps I should have thought of that in book one! The audio was well done, and I would definitely recommend it; these would be excellent books for men and women alike to listen to on road trips, as the themes would easily appeal to mixed audiences.
As with all the others, this one is a solid, four star read for me. Great entertainment for all readers of medieval historical fiction.