Aidan's Reviews > Conqueror

Conqueror by Conn Iggulden
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Jan 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, historical-fiction
Read from January 19 to February 03, 2012

I am always wary of picking up a late entry in a series before reading the books that came before it for fear that I will miss details or feel lost in a world an author has spent thousands of pages developing. While Conqueror is the last in Conn Iggulden's Mongol warlords series, it actually proves to be a strong narrative in its own right, featuring thrilling action sequences and a real sense of scope and scale as the drama plays out over the course of years and across continents.

While earlier entries in the series dealt with the rise and rule of Genghis Khan, this volume concerns itself with what followed - the vacuum that was created with the absence of strong leadership. The result, particularly in the first hundred pages, is a story that almost seems to move too quickly - setting up characters only to quickly eliminate them. While Kublai does emerge as a strong figure it does take a considerable portion of the book before he starts to realize his potential. Once he does emerge as more than the bookish figure of the early chapters he becomes much more compelling - showing cunning, guile and ambition.

Iggulden's battle sequences are well-described and thankfully unfold at a brisk pace. We are given a clear sense of what unfolded but are spared blow-for-blow accounts of precisely what happens. Instead he focuses on Kublai's strategic decisions which are often unorthodox, allowing us to see the character grow in confidence to reach the point where he will try to grab an empire for himself.

Though the book is not a short one it is so action-packed that it is ends up compelling you to read just one more chapter (and then another and then another). Now I just have to go back and read the others!

This book was received from the Goodreads First Reads program.
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01/19/2012 page 47
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