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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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2514045,664 (4.15)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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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've finished reading this book. I feel like shouting out loud. It wasn't a bad book it just took forever to get through. I don't know why, but it may have had something to do with the frequent change of scene and character. I simply couldn't get attached to anyone until the last 5 chapters. I am glad that Iggulden decided to conclude the book where he did because I don't think that I could have taken a depressing end. Otherwise, there is the same attention to historical facts and a generous offering of action that enhanced the rest of his series. ( )
  Kirconnell | Jul 24, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the second book I have received through the Early Reviewers program by Conn Iggulden. I have always been a fan of the Mongol Empire, and this was a great way to end the series. The later years of Kublai Khan are well known and would be difficult to play with. In this book Iggulden takes us through the early years of Kublai. It is a story filled with interesting historical facts that too many Westerners don't know. Other than Genghis and Kublai, most people don't know much about the Mongol Empire. Certainly Americans are not taught much about the Mongols other than that they were blood thirsty heathens. In reality, the Mongol Empire was well disciplined and highly advanced for its age. This series, and this book as the finale, go a long way in enlightening readers to an important culture.

I would recommend this series to anyone interested in learning more about the Mongol Empire. Yes, it is historical fiction and the author takes some literary license, but he clearly tells the reader where he has done it and why. I think this is important, and applaud the author for making sure he points out where he has played with historical figures and facts. It doesn't make the rest of the story unbelievable. ( )
  klaidlaw | Jul 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:27 -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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