The Mongoliad

The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga)

By: Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review.  As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.

The Mongoliad is a “saga about the complex, bloody history of Western martial arts.” Or, at least, that’s what the press release I received with the book says.  My suspicion is that the saga part that includes the history of western martial arts will be a bit clearer as the series continues.  While there are certainly some elements of it in the novel, it is not much more than a few passing details during battles.

A few things bothered me about the book.  First, it’s a collaboration between 7 authors.  I’m not sure exactly how that works, but it seems like that would be a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.  The second thing may actually be a result of that, I don’t know.  The method of delivery of the story is somewhat intermittent.  It jumps back and forth from the viewpoint of the Mongol side of things to the Christian side of things and then, within those sides, it jumps from one character to another.  A ways into the book, I suddenly found myself reading a section from the viewpoint of a character that hadn’t had a section before.  Which, if he were a new character, wouldn’t have been so jarring.  But, he had been a character from the beginning of the book.  The next thing is more of a personal pet peeve.  It annoys me when a book that is part of a series doesn’t have an “ending” of it’s own to stand upon.  The ending of this novel isn’t really an ending at all.  None of the plot points are wrapped up, and the reader is simply faced with a blank page and the story pauses until the next novel.

Annoyances and bothers aside, the book is fairly well written.  I think I would have been left wondering had it not been, considering there were 7 authors to contribute tot he writing.  For an ARC, I actually found very few typos, which is a bit of a surprise.  Usually, an ARC is loaded up with typos and lost sentences.  Kudos to the editor that edited the ARC.

I found the characters to be believable, dialogue was well thought out, and very rarely felt out of place with the characters.  The plot lines follow well, and served to drag me right into the novel.  It is highly readable, for a book of nearly 450 pages.  It rarely is dry, and isn’t loaded up with momentum killing monologues and remembrances.  It’s well worth a read, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one in the series.


  1. […] only been about 4 months since I read the first book in the series, The Mongoliad, but even in that time, I found that I had lost the story somewhat. I think that some of that is […]

  2. […] might want to read my reviews of Mongoliad: Book One and Mongoliad: Book Two before moving on.  I don’t do spoilers, but it might make more sense […]

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