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The Mongoliad: Book One

(The Foreworld Saga #1)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  7,965 Ratings  ·  692 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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Marcia Palmer I tried to read it and got about 60% through it. I had to give it up-too many worthless plots.

Community Reviews

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May 26, 2012 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
Mar 23, 2012 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
Jul 12, 2012 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
James Cambias
Sep 10, 2012 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 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
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kenton Crowther
May 11, 2012 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.
May 30, 2012 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
Prof X
Dec 19, 2012 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
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
Apr 24, 2012 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
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben beğendim. Bence yorumlarda söylendiği kadar kötü değildi.
May 23, 2012 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 17, 2012 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
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
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
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.
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 01, 2012 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
Jun 22, 2012 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 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
Benjamin Duffy
May 24, 2012 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 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
When one is friends with people who love to read, and one talks to those people about not just the books being read, but their personal reading habits, things tend to come out: personal preferences in the material that people read. One of the most common has to do with spoilers. Some readers hate them like the plague, and I've known more than a few flame wars started online because someone decided to be a troll and posts the spoilers without warnings of any kind. I, on the other hand, am what I ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it

'Mongoliad', la espada vence a la pluma


“ - ¿Lo llamáis partida de caza? ¿Cómo si fuerais a salir en busca de un conejo para el estofado de la noche? Estáis hablando del hombre más poderoso de la historia del mundo –dijo-. Comparado con él, Julio César fue un gobernador local con algunos logros de poca envergadura.

- Pero
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This book written by a collaboration of several authors is set at the time of the Mongol invasion of eastern Europe. The story follows a group of European Knights who are trying to defeat the Mongols and also a Mongol warrior newly arrived in the Mongol palace.

This isn't the type of book I usually read but I did enjoy it. I thought it was well written and the characters were well developed and interesting. There were three main story strands and I was interested in them all... and that was the
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A failed experiment in group-authored historical adventure. What could have been an absolute balltearer - a group of disparate European knights seek to end a Mongol invasion by assassinating the Khan - gets bogged down in show-your-research faux-cleverness and some genuinely terrible line-for-line writing. The language is so unbelievably clumsy in places that ir robs the narrative of almost all momentum. Worse, this being the first of a series, the book just ends abruptly, as though the requisit ...more
Scott Weber
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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.

Other books in the series

The Foreworld Saga (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.” 3 likes
More quotes…