By: Conn Iggulden
Ghengis: Lords of the Bow is the second in Igguldens Ghengis trilogy. My first experiences with Igguldens work was through the Emperor series that he wrote about Julius Caesar. I don’t usually read historical fiction, choosing to stick to my science fiction and fantasy realms, but the book caught my eye and after reading it, I was hooked.
Iggulden has a great talent for taking a history that we know only scattered facts about and making it real. Sure, most of us know the outlines of the lives of Caesar and Ghengis, and a few know a great detail about their lives, but there are none who know the day to day things. It’s those things that Iggulden does such an amazing job of integrating. Through study, he is able to bring the facts together into a cohesive story that is, at the same time, engrossing and informational.
*Spoilers beyond this point*
The story of Ghengis starts in the first book with the childhood of the future Khan. It lays the details down on the events that formed the man and his rise to become the Khan of his tribe. Lords of the Bow continues that story, picking up as Ghengis is waging war on rival tribes in an effort to bring all of the Mongol tribes in under one banner. As the opening pages wind down, we find that he has accomplished that goal.
With the arrival of the final tribe, Ghengis brings them all together and marches them off to begin war with the Chin people. Throughout, we are given insight, with great detail, of the inner workings of the tribe and the struggles they encountered in uniting the tribes. The book gives a view into the minds of one of the worlds greatest leaders, the people he surrounded himself with, and the Mongol people as a whole.
Because it is the middle book in a trilogy, the ending leaves us hanging. Ghengis has successfully conquered the Chin capital, and is taking the tribes back to their native plains to rest. If you’re into historical fiction, this is a great series to get into. Some might find it a bit dry at parts, but overall, it kept me turning pages.