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The Mongoliad: Book One (Foreworld #1)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  5,476 ratings  ·  589 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
Paperback, 434 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by 47North
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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
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
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
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
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
Kenton Crowther

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
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
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
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
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 Proffitt
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
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
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Benjamin Duffy
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
-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
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
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
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 'Pezski' 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
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
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
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
This serialized work in progress is a fun and worthwhile read.

Fortunately I discovered it in week 30 or so of the purported 52-week experiment, so there were a good 500 pages or so to enjoy in a sitting. Stephenson and his co-authors are clearly having fun illustrating history's most absurd assassination attempt and have filled this romp across the steppes with all the things they like: knights, horses, martial arts weapons-brawls described in what surely must be literature's most accurate play-
Jenny GB
I picked this one off the library new books shelf on a whim. I liked the sound of the content matter and the collaborative nature of the book when I looked into it. Historical science fiction/fantasy writing also intrigues me so I was ready to like this one. It has some good things going for it. For so many authors, the writing is fairly smooth. There is a lot of action in this book and a lot of it seems based in a good knowledge of martial arts. I thought it was a big shame that I couldn't acce ...more
Scott Weber
Book Review – The Mongoliad by Neal Stephenson
The Mongoliad is at its base a story about a group of European Warriors fighting against the Mongolian horde in the late 1200s. That’s just the story part, though. On a higher level this is an experiment in storytelling and interactive media. There are multiple authors, spin-off books, and a website with lots of features to go along with the books. If you want to hear more about the interactive media part, you will have to go to their website
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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)
Snow Crash Cryptonomicon The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer Anathem Reamde

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“Every true heart needed a pragmatic counterweight, and every cynic an idealist to lift his spirits.” 6 likes
“War did not just level, it plowed the field, raising the muck and sinking the stubble.” 2 likes
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