Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden

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Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden

Buy Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: From the author of The Dangerous Book for Boys, an adult novel about a very dangerous man!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: January 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 978-0007201761

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Lords of the Bow is the second part of Conn Iggulden's Conqueror series of books about the life of Genghis Khan. I must confess, I haven't read Wolf of the Plains, the first book in the series, but I must say upfront that this didn't stop me from getting into or enjoying this second novel; it works as a book in its own right.

The book begins at the battle between the Mongols and the Namians, as seen from Kokchu's (the shaman of the Namian tribe) perspective. After his tribe is destroyed, Kokchu is given a year to live and prove his worth to his new master: Genghis Khan. It's at the end of the prologue we're given the big clue as to the main theme of this book; Genghis is gathering his people together to build an unstoppable army.

The fact we start with the view of a minor character is a good signpost for the rest of the book. The focus character changes often through the chapters - we don't spend all the time with Genghis. All of the secondary characters have their own subplots, which work well in increasing the tension throughout and providing (at times) an almost Arthurian intrigue. All of this gives some real meat to the conquest theme of the novel. The various troubles within his own growing family and in his army as a whole are very well-conceived and played out. Even though this is dealing with people from a different age, the relationships all ring true and have an emotionally realistic quality.

The action in this book is non stop; from individual fight scenes to mass battles. Conn often lets us see both sides of the leadership before the battles take place so we are in on the various strategies being used. This is one aspect of the novel that got a little tedious. Though I loved the views of Genghis' cohort and entourage, when it switched view to the next enemy he'd be facing it felt slightly unnatural and pulled me away from the novel. It is a minor problem though.

The fight scenes themselves are masterfully played out; I found myself getting right behind the Mongols and cheering them on. In terms of violence, if this were a film, it would have an eighteen rating. It's very well written and in terms of description and sense of place, takes you right there. But it's the excitement of the conquests and the personal relationships that stopped me putting this book down. It's gripping and you just have to see what happens next. I guess that's the thing – this book is a real page-turner and so much so that, now I've run out of these pages, I'll have to get a copy of Wolf of the Plains so I can read through some more.

I really enjoyed this novel, and historical fiction isn't usually my thing. If you liked this book you might want to try The Tower by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. We've also loved Dunstan: One Man Will Change the Fate of England by Conn Iggulden.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

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Buy Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden at Amazon.com.


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