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The Mongoliad: Book One (Foreworld #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  6,691 Ratings  ·  644 Reviews
The first novel to be released in The Foreworld Saga, The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history ...more
Kindle Edition, 490 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by 47north
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 17, 2012 Felicity rated it did not like it
I'm bailing. In fact, I'm trading this book in for something better, like a Harlequin Historical or some hinky paranormal romance, which will probably be more believable and contain more acute, intelligent characterization than Mongoliad. Gack. This clunky mess almost killed my love for Neal Stephenson and thus I am stopping before it succeeds. I did, however, learn something from this fiasco: books should not be written by committees of weapons nerds.
Maybe it was a case of too many cooks...I don't know. It took seven people to write this thing?
How does that even work?
I'm envisioning authors huddled around someone's kitchen table, rolling a 20-sided die to determine the next plot twist.

It's certainly not a bad book. The action and bloody violence will keep you turning the pages. But, the whole thing turns out to be an oddly emotionless experience. I can't say the characters are cardboard, as that would imply they have two dimensi
Apr 23, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: neal-stephenson
If "Reamde" was Stephenson's "most accessible book" -- which I took to mean that his editors demanded he write a "popular" book -- then "Mongoliad" returns to Stephenson's usual manner of writing books that are challenging for the reader. To put it mildly.

If "Anathem" was intellectually challenging in its intellectual exploration of multiverses, then "Mongoliad" is challenging in its gut-wrenching, emotional depictions of the world in which it takes place.

This world would be eastern Europe, on t
Oct 27, 2015 James rated it really liked it
The Mongoliad is apparently an attempt to answer the question of why the Mongol hordes stopped their sweeping invasion across Europe. An epic tale of historical fiction told as two parallel stories. The first follows a group of knights, a fairly rag-taggle mixture of knights from different countries - many not even speaking a common tongue - but united under their common purpose as the Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae. Not always a Christian order, but now appearing keen to at least appear part of ...more
James Cambias
Sep 10, 2012 James Cambias rated it really liked it
A fun book about manly medieval men hitting each other with swords. Setting it in Mongol territory means that pretty much any manly man in Eurasia can turn up and hit someone with a sword. It's almost like one of those "greatest warrior" TV shows -- can a Samurai beat a Crusader? Can a Magyar take down a Teutonic Knight? This isn't a criticism; the authors obviously picked a time and place when they could have fun with swordfighting heroes.

The characters are a mixed bag. I found the Mongol warri
Jul 23, 2012 John rated it it was ok
I was prepared to give this book a begrudging 3 stars, followed by plenty of disclaimers in the review here. The book is full of the sloppiest sort of overwriting: meandering conversations, telling instead of showing, overwrought descriptions of scenery. It's a struggle to care about any of the characters. The authors clearly had a greater interest in the minutiae of history and the technical details of swordfighting than they did in telling an interesting story about compelling people.

And then
Kelley Something
Nov 12, 2015 Kelley Something rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kenton Crowther
Apr 12, 2015 Kenton Crowther rated it really liked it

Cnan is hardy and crafty, a trail scout and a 'Binder' (what this means not explained in the text). She is on the side of the knights of Christendom.

Another protagonist, and on the Mongols' side, is Gansukh, a young horseman of the steppes who is sent to tell the Khagan, one of the sons of Genghis Khan, to curb his drinking. He is too naive to realize what a dangerous task this could be.

Soon you are well into a stewpot of strange names and outlandish customs, guttural umlauts and other accents.
Prof X
Dec 19, 2012 Prof X rated it it was ok
There is a LOT of potential in this book. The story is interesting, and I imagine that the story is also historically informative. However, I finished the first book without having been made to care about a single one of the many characters. It's not that the characters are off-putting (except for the alcoholic khan, who manages to be both frustrating and boring at the same time). It's just one is given no reason to find them interesting, to side with them, to hope or fear for them, or even to d ...more
May 30, 2012 Marlene rated it liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

The Mongoliad, of which Book One has just been published, is any number of things. It's the first book in something its seven creators call The Foreworld Saga--more on that later. It's also a cooperative effort with seven, count them, seven authors--but it isn't a collection of short stories. It's a novel, at least as published.

It started out as an experiment. A serial novel, published online at, then the result edited down and published as a
Althea Ann
In the interest of being a Neal Stephenson completist, I had to read this.
However, I had doubts about the whole novel-by-committee concept and, sadly, I felt that those doubts were justified.
The concept of the novel was good - it's got an interesting historical setting, a good mix of different types of characters, some action, some drama... I'm sure it all looked very good on paper. And, it's not actually bad. It's just not great.
The characters never fully come to life - I felt like they'd work
May 24, 2012 Jm_oriol rated it liked it
Una entretenida novela de aventuras durante la invasión de Europa por los Mongoles. Hay tres arcos argumentales, un grupo de caballeros se dirige a Karakorum para asesinar al Khan y hacer retroceder a los ejercitos Mongoles (en plan doce del patíbulo), mientras otros quedan atrás, en una especie de circo, donde pelean con distintos adversarios en combates singulares para divertir el jefe del ejercito Mongol (aquí se centran en las técnicas de lucha antiguas), y por último una visión de la capita ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Grace rated it really liked it
This was great! Not as dense as your typical Stephenson, but with the fantastic range and scope and depth.

I was a little concerned about this, given it's a collaborative work written by a bunch of fantasy authors after they created a club for playing with ancient weapons. And true, there is a lot of fighting in this book, but it's actually pretty compelling - it turns out that when a fight is described analytically and tactically by people who know what they're talking about, it comes across al
Melissa McShane
This book has about a million authors, but it doesn't read like it does. It's also got about a million viewpoint characters (well, more like eight) so I had my usual negative reaction to being dragged out of one story I loved into another one I wasn't so interested in. In general, I did like most of the plotlines, though I don't care for authors introducing new POV characters in the middle or even near the end of a book; it feels like it dilutes the story. On the other hand, one of those new POV ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
This is a really tough one to review. Mongoliad is a serial novel which was produced interactively as part of a transmedia franchise. According to the website, it's "sort of the thing that Charles Dickens wrote, but with a decidedly 21st century twist", emphasizing the role of social media and community resources in the project's idea and creation.

I have to say the serialized format and the multiple authors both facilitated and hindered my enjoyment. Not surprisingly, the novel did not always fe
Jun 01, 2012 Bee rated it it was ok
I am a huge neal stephenson fan, and I've noticed that his work is usually composed of swashbuckling and ideas, in some combination (his favorite ideas to explore seem to be language, currency, globalisation, and homosexual mathematicians). Basically all of his books are like action action action lengthy exposition action action END. His best work has an even mixture and pacing of these two elements. I was a little miffed that reamde was like 90% swashbuckling, but mongoliad was much worse. Not ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
I was a little leery of this work. When I first learned of it via the CLANG Kickstarter project I thought it odd that a number of authors were credited with writing this one story. Having been in a kitchen with too many cooks I expected disaster at worst, bland disconnected rambling at best. I'm happy to say I was disappointed in my expectations.

That's not to say that I was overjoyed with the work itself.

I'm a big fan of Neal Stephenson, have read most if not all of his work, and know to expect
Michael Laine
Apr 29, 2012 Michael Laine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Alternate Reality Historical Fiction Fans
Recommended to Michael by:
Because I’m a nerd (Space/Technology geek with a high-ish score) I got an “advanced readers copy – uncorrected proof” version of the novel last week.

I wolfed it down. I started and finished ‘The Mongoliad’ this weekend – and ignored the ‘to-do’ list that was supposed to happen on Saturday/Sunday. It’s a simple read, and straightforward plot. Some characters expand over time and evolve a little. The pacing is good and the fight scenes are graphic and detailed.

Honestly, this is not the
Audiobook from Brilliance Audio
Narrated by Luke Daniels
Length: 13.25 hours
Note: I received this audiobook as a complete package with a prequel, Sinner, included. This review only covers The Mongoliad: Book One, as I reviewed Sinner: A Prequel to the Mongoliad separately.

The Mongoliad: Book One is a different sort of book. It pretty much violated all of my typical "rules" for a book, and I still find myself wanting to read on, to find out what happens in The Mongoliad: Book Two. I'm not sure the
May 04, 2012 Simon rated it liked it
The Mongoliad: Book One, written by seven authors altogether, depicts an adventure set in the 13th century about war and the devastation laid to the world by the Mongolians. A band of orderly knights and monks set out on a quest to rid the evil that has brought so much destruction to so many people. Their journey is sure to be labeled as foolish since the odds are clearly against them but it seems that they have no choice. I admit that I know absolutely nothing about Genghis Khan as a brutal con ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Laforgue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Duffy
Jun 12, 2012 Benjamin Duffy rated it liked it
I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had not come to it expecting a Neal Stephenson book. It has none of Stephenson's gonzo over-the-top-ness, nor his didacticism; none of his manic rambles, twenty-page asides, or enormous math-based research dumps. It has precious little of his trademark humor and gleeful geekery. In fact, the only real Stephenson trademark in evidence here is an abundance of hypercompetent badasses doing their thing - here it's alchemists and swordfighters rather than ...more
May 21, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2014 Olethros rated it liked it
-Más que una novela, todo un proyecto multimedia.-

Género. Novela (ficción histórica, para ser más exactos).

Lo que nos cuenta. A mediados del siglo XIII, el Imperio Mongol está en el este de Europa y ningún ejército (ni la muerte de su líder) ha conseguido detener su expansión. Cnán es una mujer que viene de tierras lejanas con la misión de encontrar a los miembros de la Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae con un objetivo muy ambicioso y peligroso. En la capital mongola, el Khan Ogodei no disfruta de
Oct 05, 2014 Eleanor rated it liked it
I read the Mongoliad trilogy one right after the other (the joys of living near a library) so it's going to be difficult to review this book as one, but I'll try.

While this book did not fill me with page turning fervor, I did appreciate the attention to the often ignored historical period. Also, the books at least feature what logically must be a more globalized medieval society than is usually depicted.

You don't get much by way of character development in the first book, it mostly introduces t
Jan 30, 2014 Johansolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasia, historia
Me ha gustado mucho.

Ya sabía que Neal Stephenson no era el único autor y gracias a eso no he echado de menos las disquisiciones estrambóticas marca suya. El estilo combinado es bastante ágil, los personajes sugestivos y las tramas interesantes.

Como "parte negativa" para algunos puede ser el combat-porn* que gastan al describir los combates que a mi no se me ha hecho pesado porque ya tengo unas cuantas nociones básicas de que se supone que está pasando (es lo que tiene ser un interesado en la hop
Jan 16, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
This alternate history is good, and suddenly you find yourself caring about the characters, many of whom seem to blend for a while.

The book is most quest as some knights travel to save thier world from the Mongol horde. The Mongols have thier own problems. The reader finds herself in the position of rooting for both sides.

The book is more action based than character based, and seems more movie like in this regard. Still enjoyable.
Paul  Perry
2.5 stars

While I flew through this book and, therefore, obviously enjoyed it, its flaws prevent me from giving it a high rating. Perhaps surprisingly, given the pedigree of some of the authors involved, chief amongst these flaws are some passages of startlingly bad writing. I mean, sentences or paragraphs that I would re-read thinking I must have misread them the first time around they were so badly constructed. I really should have kept notes as there were several. I remember one being somethin
Jan 02, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, alt-history
Infuriating book. I want to give it three stars, but the story is too good, hard to put down, even, grudgingly, fascinating at times. The characters are fairly well-developed. HOWEVER, the writing, in many parts, is bad. It seemed to improve over the course of the book, but the constant over explanation of historical minutiae was exhausting. The collective of medieval enthusiasts who wrote this book are obsessed with how bad everything smells. It becomes unnervingly fetish-like after a while how ...more
Nov 02, 2012 HBalikov rated it liked it
If you follow my reviews, you know that I really appreciate Neal Stephenson. Why? Because, at the core, most of his books show a mastery of the cultural, sociological, and technological intracacies of the time and place of the story. His meticulous research makes for a richer experience.

Other reviewers have noted that this book explores a period of time when the East (Mongols) and the West (Christians of various hues) clashed and the world was poised to take an irrevocable step in one direction
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Katabasis (Foreworld, #4)
  • Sinner: A Prequel to the Mongoliad (Foreworld)
  • Siege Perilous (Foreworld, #5)
  • The Shield-Maiden: A Foreworld SideQuest
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  • Adrift on the Sea of Rains
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
More about Neal Stephenson...

Other Books in the Series

Foreworld (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Dreamer: A Prequel to the Mongoliad (The Foreworld Saga)
  • The Mongoliad: Book Two (Foreworld, #2)
  • The Lion in Chains: A Foreworld SideQuest
  • Seer: A Prequel to the Mongoliad
  • The Mongoliad: Book Three (Foreworld, #3)
  • The Beast of Calatrava: A Foreworld Sidequest
  • Hearts of Iron
  • Symposium (Symposium: A SideQuest Comic, #1)(TheForeworld Saga)
  • Symposium #2: A SideQuest Comic (The Foreworld Saga)
  • Symposium #3: A SideQuest Comic (The Foreworld Saga)

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“Every true heart needed a pragmatic counterweight, and every cynic an idealist to lift his spirits.” 8 likes
“War did not just level, it plowed the field, raising the muck and sinking the stubble.” 2 likes
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