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Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan by Conn…

Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan (edition 2011)

by Conn Iggulden

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3244234,192 (4.19)14
Title:Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan
Authors:Conn Iggulden
Info:Delacorte Press (2011), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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Conqueror by Conn Iggulden



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I suspect there will be more of these coming. The author does a nice job of moving into the next set of characters in this saga. In this one, we're a couple generations away from Genghis, and as is the case with most family dynasties, this one is imploding on itself. Kublai is written as the one descendent "worthy" of the kingdom, and as a very likable and admirable character.

I will say that now that I've gone as far as I can with this series, I'm reading some other history of the time, and have to say I like that Iggulden stayed relatively close to actual history when creating these stories. Sure, he seems to have taken some liberty to develop a good story, but these are novels after all, not pure history books. He "massages" characters to make a better story, which takes away from the likely historical accuracy, but I'm OK with that.

I listened to all of these on audiobook. As I mentioned in an earlier review, I'm really not crazy about the narrator. While he does a good job overall, he keeps changing his pronunciation of words and phrases from book to book. This could be because someone corrected him between books, or it could be that he just changes his mind on how he wants to say it. It's a bit annoying. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
Iggulden wraps up his Mongol Empire series with the life of Kublai. While the character and plot development isn't as gripping as with his early works in this series, it nevertheless serves as a solid conclusion to the series - yet leaves open the potential for more to come (however unlikely this may be). ( )
  bdtrump | May 9, 2015 |
Unfortunately I couldn't get engaged in this book. It ended up sitting on a shelf neglected and never finished. ( )
  shawse | Oct 17, 2014 |
I enjoy Iggulden's books and have enjoyed all of his Khan series, from Ghengis on to Kublai. Interesting times [not to mention, brutal] ( )
  VictoriaJZ | May 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Enjoyed the book. ( )
  dstawarz | Jul 24, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385343051, Hardcover)

Featured Essay by Conn Iggulden

Kublai Borjigin was a grandson of Genghis Khan, but never expected to inherit the Mongol empire. He spent his formative years as a scholar in the city of Karakorum, learning languages and philosophies rather than the tactics of war.

When the other lines of succession failed, Kublai's older brother Mongke rose to lead the empire, a man who aimed to be another Genghis--traditional and utterly ruthless. Mongke began his reign with a great slaughter and put his followers and family in positions of power. Yet what was Mongke to do with his brother Kublai, the ink-stained scholar who had never left the city? Kublai dressed like a noble and had no experience of large-scale assaults. Astonishingly, Mongke sent his academic brother to conquer the hardest military target of the era--China. He gave Kublai an army of a hundred thousand, but at that time, a single Chinese city contained more people than the entire Mongol nation. The Emperor of China was capable of putting two million trained soldiers in the field. It was an impossible task, a perfect example of "asymmetric warfare," where a much smaller side is forced to innovate to survive.

Given an impossible task, what happened was an extraordinary leap of imagination for a man of the thirteenth century. Kublai learned the tactics of cavalry archers. He learned how to use cannons and what a burden they would prove to a fast cavalry force. He had good generals and his men were the elite horsemen of the Great Khan, but that would not have been enough on its own. What Kublai discovered was the exact opposite of Genghis's chief tactic. Genghis had destroyed cities as an example, so that the next ones would surrender without a fight. Kublai spared cities, allowing them to remain untouched as his army swept by. Once his mercy was a proven fact, they surrendered by the dozen. Armies sent against him knew they could lay down weapons and live.

By the time Mongke rode out with a huge army to "save" his brother, Kublai was in strike range of the enemy capital. Perhaps Mongke would have taken the glory, but he died on the trip south and Kublai was left in sole command. He wanted to go on, but news came that his youngest brother had declared himself Khan at home. Furious, Kublai broke off his campaign and returned to fight a civil war.

His life is the story of a scholar who was forced to lead first armies and then an empire. He turned out to be better at it than his brothers or Genghis. There were tragedies and glories still to come--the death of his wife and son, the failures against Japan and the splendid court described by Marco Polo. Kublai would lose more than he gained as the Great Khan of the empire, but he founded a Chinese dynasty and is remembered there with respect and honor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Tells the story of the rise of Kublai Khan to take over his grandfather Genghis Khan's empire, as well as China, in a novel that focuses on the brutal competition between Kublai and his three brothers.

(summary from another edition)

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