Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: Gengish: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror 2)

Gengish has united the tribes - can he keep them together when his army of nomads faces siege warfare against the walled Chin cities?

"Lords of the Bow" is the second book in Conn Iggulden's series about Gengish Khan. What made the first book, "Wolf of the Plains", fascinating was the story of how and why the young Temujin of the Wolves became the ruthless conqueror. In "LotB", he is the khan of the Mongols and his fast, mobile army of archers must find a way to defeat something they have never even seen before: cities and fortresses. Battles take centre stage - yet the truly interesting scenes are the moments where the great khan is puzzled by the task of raising his sons or wonders how (or if) he can rule his two wives. These personal struggles remain on the background, which could be seen as a reflection of Gengish's priorities. The unembellished, straightforward writing might not add to the reading experience but is a good match for the gritty, brutal story.

While those looking for beautiful prose or detailed description of everyday life on the Mongolian plains will not be entirely satisfied with "Lords of the Bow", I would recommend it to fans of fast-paced, action-packed historical fiction.

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