Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: The Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, stalked by enemies seen and unseen and plagued by a divided family, leads a sprawling force of horsemen beyond the realm of their known world. He will bring a storm to Arab lands and face the armies of the shah in all their strength.
From the fierce cold plains of Mongolia to the Korean Peninsula, Genghis’s brothers, sons, and commanders have made emperors bow, slaughtering vast armies of fighting men. But as Genghis enters a strange new land of towering mountains and arid desert, he stirs an enemy greater than any he has met before. Under his command, Shah Ala-ud-Din Mohammed has thousands of fierce Arab warriors, teeming cavalry, and terrifying armored elephants. When Genghis strikes, the Arabs prove their mettle. On the verge of defeat, Genghis is forced to leave his own vast encampment, and the women and children in it, in the path of an enraged, savage enemy.
While the Mongols—men, women, and children—fight back, as secret assassins are sent into the night, another battle is taking shape. Two of Genghis’s sons, Jochi and Chagatai, are steeped in enmity. Warriors choose between them, and a murderer commits an unspeakable crime. Soon the most powerful man in the world, who has brought devastation to this land, must choose a successor. And when he does, it will touch off the most bitter conflict of all.
In a novel that ranges from the fertile lands of the Chin to the dust and rock of Afghanistan, Conn Iggulden weaves the epic story of history’s most enigmatic conqueror —those who feared him, those who defied him, and those whose bones he left behind.
Bones of the Hills, the third (and last novel) about Genghis Khan by Iggulden, was great–lots of action, lots of political, military, and strategic plotting, as well as more focus on Genghis’ family especially his sons and the problem of an heir.
The main focus and conflict is Genghis’ rage and revenge against the Shah, who has an empire covering what is modern-day Afghanistan, bits of Iran too I think. It begins when the Great Khan sends ambadassadors and men to the Arab city of Otrar, demanding tribute and submission. The governor of Otrar repeatedly rebuffs Genghis by killing these “diplomats” (actually spies) and makes basically the “worst military decision in history” (I quote Iggulden) by offending Genghis, and the Mongol ruler sweeps down with his entire nation and sets fire and destruction and Doomsday on the Shah’s lands.
I was unaware of the fact that the Mongol Empire was so large (larger than the Roman Empire and Muslim Caliphate, or “largest continuous empire”), stretching from present-day Korea in the east all the way to the Caspian Sea in the west, touching Russia in the North and parts of South-East Asia and India. Seems like Iggulden made an effort to keep pretty factual with the events and plotting, and I enjoyed learning so much about Mongol history.
As this is the last novel about Genghis, it includes his death and plants the seed for a new series Iggulden will write about his descendents, most notably his grandson, Kublai Khan. I will definitely be following that series, and will also try Iggulden’s other books about Julius Caesar.
Great ending to a decently entertaining series.