An imaginative and sprawling epic fantasy reimagining of the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia, following the lives and treacherous journeys of four key figures in the heart of war.
Due to the efforts of the great Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire covers a vast portion of the known world.
In the shadow of his grandfather, Hulagu, ruler of the Ilkhanate, is determined to create a single empire that covers the entire world. His method? Violence.
His youngest son, Temujin, struggles to find his place in his father’s bloody rule. After another failure, Temujin is given one last chance to prove himself to Hulagu, who is sure there is a great warrior buried deep inside. But there’s something else rippling under the surface… something far more powerful and dangerous than they could ever imagine…
Reduced to the position of one of Hulagu’s many wives, the Blue Princess Kokochin is the last of her tribe. Alone and forgotten in a foreign land, Kokochin is unwilling to spend her days seeking out trivial pursuits. Seeking purpose, she finds herself wandering down a path that grants her more power than a wife of the ruler may be allowed.
Kaivon, the Persian rebel who despises the Mongols for the massacre of his people, thirsts for revenge. However, he knows alone he cannot destroy the empire. When given the opportunity to serve Hulagu, Kaivon must put aside his feelings and risk his life for a chance to destroy from within an empire that aims to conquer the world.
Family and war collide in this thrilling and bloody reimagining of the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia.
It is often rare that you get a novel that encompasses one of the most brutal time periods in all of history, and showcases the grandeur of the Mongol Empire in all of its glory. The historical cast of this overwhelming story is brought alive in ways that you instantly develop a connection with them. Many of these characters, from Hulagu Khan down to his son, Temujin, Doquz, his mistress, and Karion, the Persian General who unwillingly serves under them. This is a world where the Mongols are showing signs of decline, but they cannot be underestimated. The Mongols destroyed city after city, village after village, and then quickly rebuilt what they could to act as if no one had ever heard of it. Their reputation for brutality was well deserved. But then, there have been many Empires that have done the same.
The rich worldbuilding is a result of the immense research that must have been taken by Stephen Aryan. Every character from the main cast to the small character felt unique. Each has its own personality and traits. Many have their own motives. An underlying theme however exists: All are scared of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. And civil war is teetering now that Subotai, the greatest general of Genghis Khan has passed away. To serve the Khan is to show your loyalty, and pay tribute. But to show disloyalty and plot behind the scenes is even more difficult. The brutal siege of Baghdad is depicted in a blunt manner, and I appreciate the author for showcasing the fact that Baghdad had been a great city, a city that was the wealth of knowledge, and the patron of the Islamic World under the Abbasaids. What happened on that fateful day, is a disgrace to mankind itself. One could compare it to the fall of Carthage, the fall of Corinth, the sack of Babylon, and the destruction of Persepolis itself. There is a reason you will begin to fear the Mongol Army.
Conn Iggulden wrote an epic series based on the Mongol Empire a long time back. I would definitely compare this to it. This is Iggulden’s style of writing. And while there are fantastical elements shown in this, I am pleased to see the elements of spirituality and magic combined together. The novel illustrates many points of view, from Mongol Concubines to showcasing a huge female cast, being the wives of the Great Khan, who carry gravitas and a willingness to navigate through the court of Mongol Imperial Power. You will get attached to characters, and then there may be moments when you will come to despise them. But this was the Middle Ages after all. I can’t include everything in this review because this novel encompasses a vast multicultural world of ethnicities that once existed. Now they are gone. There is a story: Freedom. That’s what this novel is about.
This is the beginning of an epic series that will unsheathe the light of a forgotten world that has not existed in millennia. A world in which the Mongols, the Persians, the Franks, and the Mamluks of Egypt shall clash with each other. A story that will want you on your side. It only remains to be open once you open this book. I am thoroughly impressed. A 10/10 from me! I cannot wait to read the sequel!