Petrik's Reviews > Genghis: Bones of the Hills

Genghis by Conn Iggulden
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it was amazing
bookshelves: owned-ebooks, favorites
Recommended for: historical fiction fans

A seriously astounding piece of historical fiction that left me speechless in many ways.

“We are not here to earn riches with a bow. The wolf does not think of fine things, only that his pack is strong and no other wolf dares to cross his path. That is enough.”


I can’t help but start this review by saying that I’m thoroughly impressed by Iggulden’s talent for the creation of this series. Genghis’ conquest on its own, even if they’re written or told in a textbook manner, are very attention-grabbing already, but Iggulden successfully elevated the quality of Genghis’ legend so that it became much more engaging and emotional. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is the third book in the Conqueror series, and it—along with the first installment—are my favorites in the series so far. In the previous book, the story focused on Genghis’ conquest of The Chin; this book centered on Genghis’ breathtaking conquest of the Arabs. I must remind you, this series—especially this book—isn’t for the weak of heart; the atrocities and devastations committed in this war were terrifying in every sense of the word. I’m talking about wars with casualties that reached more than hundreds of thousands of deaths; innocents were instantly marked for the afterlife just for living in the opposing city. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is a bleak, intense, and also bittersweet book; it’s heavily centered around war, death, loyalty, heritage, achievements, and what truly matters in life and what legacies will continue after death.

“All men die, Genghis. All. Think what it means for a moment. None of us are remembered for more than one or two generations." He raised a hand as Genghis opened his mouth to speak again. "Oh, I know we chant the names of great khans by the fireside and the Chin have libraries running back for thousands of years. What of it? Do you think it matters to the dead that their names are read aloud? They don’t care, Genghis. They are gone. The only thing that matters is what they did while they were alive.”


Two generations? Little did he know that Genghis’ and the story of his legacy will live on for 800 years and counting!

I’m seriously surprised by how much I grew to care and know about these characters. They were real people that have passed away for a long time now, and despite knowing a bit about Genghis’ conquest, I didn’t know his—and many other characters’s—personality; Iggulden managed to give life, personality, and distinctive voices to the characters. Reading about how far they’ve come since the beginning of the first book was surprisingly poignant and at times, heartbreaking. This was especially evident for Genghis and his relationship with his family and commanders. Iggulden’s characterizations with his head-hopping narration were just outstanding; the family drama and conflict in every character’s relationship felt realistic and suspenseful because of the superb narrative. Without spoiling anything, I also want to state that every single storyline that revolves around Tsubodai and Jochi were some of the main highlights of the book for me. Plus, due to Genghis’ and Chagatai’s unfair treatment towards Jochi, Jochi became a great underdog character to root for.

“Be careful of raising me too high, brother. I have no special strength, unless it is in choosing good men to follow me. The great lie of cities is that we are all too weak to stand against those who oppress us. All I have done is see through that lie. I always fight, Kachiun. Kings and shahs depend on people remaining sheep, too afraid to rise up. All I ever did was realize I can be a wolf to them.”


The previous book, Genghis: Lords of the Bow was brutal; this book exceeded it in every possible way. Not only Iggulden increased the number of action scenes, but he also enhanced the quality of the scenes by making the events and battles he included in this book as accurate, deadly, and detailed as possible. The war against the Arabs was very vicious and ruthless; Iggulden weaved a story about war, vengeance, and the cycle of violence mercilessly. There’s simply no mercy here; the Mongols conquered as if they’re a passing storm that brought utter destruction to every single locale they visited, and they never stay still in one place. Genghis didn’t bring an army when he decided to conquer a city, what he brought to murder was an entire nation, and the retaliation that the Arabs countered with was almost equally destructive depending on which perspective you’re looking at. For those of you who are familiar with A Song of Ice Fire or Game of Thrones season 1, you’ll get to witness the infamous “Golden Crown” scene here. Considering that George R. R. Martin has said that Mongol was one of the inspirations for the Dothraki, I’m pretty sure that this war is the source of his inspiration for the particular scene.

“Men always die in war. Their kings expect it. I want them to know that if they resist me, they are putting their hand in the mouth of a wolf. They will lose everything and they can expect no mercy… This is a hard land and the people are used to death. If I am to rule them, they must know that to face me is to be destroyed. They must be afraid, Chakahai. It is the only way.”


Now that I’ve finished the book, I look back and I find myself shaken by the number of pivotal events (SO MANY) that happened in this 400+ pages installment; they’re exciting, thrilling, and astonishingly tension-packed. I honestly can’t decide whether I loved Genghis: Birth of an Empire or Genghis: Bones of the Hills more as a single installment; both were just amazing in a different way. I do know that Genghis: Bones of the Hills further maneuver Conqueror towards becoming my favorite historical fiction series of all time. The terrifying atrocities, unforgettable strengths, extraordinary tactics, and legendary conquest displayed in this book were all extremely well-told. Judging from where this book ends, it seems safe to call the remaining two books in the series the second part. I’ll take a one week break from reading this series and get back to it after I recover from being stunned by the incredible turn of events, but I eagerly look forward to reading the remaining of the series and fingers crossed it will be—at least nearly—as good as this book.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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Quotes Petrik Liked

Conn Iggulden
“We are not here to earn riches with a bow. The wolf does not think of fine things, only that his pack is strong and no other wolf dares to cross his path. That is enough.”
Conn Iggulden, Bones of the Hills

Conn Iggulden
“Be careful of raising me too high, brother. I have no special strength, unless it is in choosing good men to follow me. The great lie of cities is that we are all too weak to stand against those who oppress us. All I have done is see through that lie. I always fight, Kachiun. Kings and shahs depend on people remaining sheep, too afraid to rise up. All I ever did was realize I can be a wolf to them.”
Conn Iggulden, Bones of the Hills

Conn Iggulden
“All men die, Genghis. All. Think what it means for a moment. None of us are remembered for more than one or two generations." He raised a hand as Genghis opened his mouth to speak again. "Oh, I know we chant the names of great khans by the fireside and the Chin have libraries running back for thousands of years. What of it? Do you think it matters to the dead that their names are read aloud? They don’t care, Genghis. They are gone. The only thing that matters is what they did while they were alive.”
Conn Iggulden, Bones of the Hills


Reading Progress

February 21, 2018 – Shelved
November 11, 2019 – Started Reading
November 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Pallab (new)

Pallab Never read any historical fiction. Is this a good starting point?


message 2: by Lucia (new)

Lucia Excellent review Petrik!!!


Petrik Pallab wrote: "Never read any historical fiction. Is this a good starting point?"

Definitely! Please give it a try. Other historical fiction I can strongly recommend for epic fantasy readers are Warlord Chronicle by Bernard Cornwell and Lancelot by Giles Kristian! :)


Petrik Lucia wrote: "Excellent review Petrik!!!"

Thank you so much, Lucia! :)


message 5: by Shreyas (new)

Shreyas Deshpande Excellent Review Petrik , Eagerly waiting for Your Reviews for the rest of the series.


Petrik Shreyas wrote: "Excellent Review Petrik , Eagerly waiting for Your Reviews for the rest of the series."

Thank you, Shreyas! I'll get back to it next week! :)


MangoLoverReads Thanks for putting this on my radar Petrik! I’m going to have to check out this series.


message 8: by Jody (new)

Jody Great review, bro! I was not familiar with Iggulden's books until your reviews of this series. Thanks for putting him on my radar. :)


Petrik MangoLoverReads wrote: "Thanks for putting this on my radar Petrik! I’m going to have to check out this series."

You're welcome! Plesae give it a go, this one is just incredible! Definitely on its way towards becoming one of my favorite series! :)


Petrik Jody wrote: "Great review, bro! I was not familiar with Iggulden's books until your reviews of this series. Thanks for putting him on my radar. :)"

Thanks, bro! Oh man you're going to have a fantastic time with this series. Super GOOD! Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! :)


Peter Brilliant review, Petrik of what is a great book and series from Conn Iggulden. I'm glad you enjoyed this series. :):)


Petrik Peter wrote: "Brilliant review, Petrik of what is a great book and series from Conn Iggulden. I'm glad you enjoyed this series. :):)"

Thank you, Peter! Amazing series, I hope the last two books lives up to the ones I've read so far! :)


message 13: by Audrey (new)

Audrey I’m not surprise by your review Petrik I always heard nothing but praises on the work of Iggulden. I’m sure the last two books will live up to your expectations ☺️


Petrik Audrey wrote: "I’m not surprise by your review Petrik I always heard nothing but praises on the work of Iggulden. I’m sure the last two books will live up to your expectations ☺️"

Haha thank you! Fingerscrossed, Audrey! I'll get back to this series in a week. Taking a little vacation at the moment! :)


message 15: by Rain (new)

Rain Great review Petrik! I know very little about that period and this series sounds like a good place to start.


Petrik Rain wrote: "Great review Petrik! I know very little about that period and this series sounds like a good place to start."

Thank you, Rain! I strongly recommend this series! Knowing very little about this period might just end up enriching your experience! :)


message 17: by Wes (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wes Brown An outstanding review from one of my go-to's when I'm stuck for what to read next. This series for me is right up there with not just one of the best reads from historical fiction but one of my favourite series. I loved these books and it may even be around time for a re-read.
Have you also read his Rome series? They could possibly surpass the story of Genghis... It's just like you said about the way he breathes life into characters you thought you knew about.
My top 3 series of historical fiction (in no particular order) is this, his Rome series and Bernard Cornwell's 'Enemy of God' trilogy


Petrik Wes wrote: "An outstanding review from one of my go-to's when I'm stuck for what to read next. This series for me is right up there with not just one of the best reads from historical fiction but one of my fav..."

Thank you so much, Wes! I loved The Warlord Chronicles by Cornwell. I think that was my first dip into Cornwell's work actually. I rrally have to give his Last Kingdom a go too one day because I love the TV show!

As for Iggulden, I definitely will give Emperor, or at least War of the Roses a go. No way I'm not reading any of his work again because I love Conqueror so much! :D


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