Thursday, 15 December 2011

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Conqueror - Conn Iggulden

Release Date: 27/10/11


The one and only Conn Iggulden takes on the story of the mighty Kublai Khan. An epic tale of a great and heroic mind; his action-packed rule; and how in conquering one-fifth of the world's inhabited land, he changed the course of history forever. A scholar who conquered an empire larger than those of Alexander or Caesar. A warrior who would rule a fifth of the world with strength and wisdom. A man who betrayed a brother to protect a nation. From a young scholar to one of history's most powerful warriors, Conqueror tells the story of Kublai Khan -- an extraordinary man who should be remembered alongside Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known. It should have been a golden age, with an empire to dwarf the lands won by the mighty Genghis Khan. Instead, the vast Mongol nation is slowly losing ground, swallowed whole by their most ancient enemy. A new generation has arisen, yet the long shadow of the Great Khan still hangs over them all ! Kublai dreams of an empire stretching from sea to sea. But to see it built, this scholar must first learn the art of war. He must take his nation's warriors to the ends of the known world. And when he is weary, when he is wounded, he must face his own brothers in bloody civil war.


For me, there are some authors in a genre that you just have to buy and Conn Iggulden is one of them. He’s gone from strength to strength with his writing, and for me, he is the David Gemmell of Historical Fiction, a talent that is unique, rarely equalled and an author you can depend upon for a quality read that will be kept in your collection for rereads later on.

The writing is gripping, the characters have a realistic angle that the reader can grab onto and whilst in places he’s spartan in his descriptive allowing the reader to fill in the blanks it doesn’t detract from the story which moves along at its own pace. Add to this cracking prose, top notch dialogue and a way of explaining history in a context that it brings it to live. (And yes I know its historical fiction but getting it to come to life so that the reader wants to do their own research is key here.)

Finally add to the mix a story that reads well as a standalone and it’s a book that is accessible for new readers as well as established fans makes this a real gem of a title this year. Great stuff.

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