In the late 19th century, a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados provided Sir Richard F. Burton, well-known expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, a collection of long-lost manuscripts to translate. Burton's work was subsequently misplaced, only to be discovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Treiste.
From Burton's translations and the original source material, the epic tale of The Mongoliad was recreated. The story chronicles the journey of a small band of warriors and mystics as they fight to save Europe from the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century. It also exposes the secret workings of powerful clandestine societies that have been driving world events for millennia.
This fascinating and enthralling first novel in The Mongoliad trilogy fuses historical events with a gripping fictional narrative. Co-written by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, E. D. deBirmingham, Mark Teppo, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo, The Mongoliad: Book One is an unforgettable epic.
©2012 Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, E. D. deBirmingham, Mark Teppo, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I enjoyed listening to Part 1 of the Mongoliad so much that I immediately started back at the beginning again and listened right through for a second time.
The book describes life under the Mongols, led by the Khan family, and in particular Ogudai Khan, the Khan of Khans (or Coggin), and hints at the problems that born fighters face in maintaining the empire which was won by Gengis Khan. Life is savage, and there are many people who would like to destroy the Mongol empire.
The story has three strands: there's a small group of European knights (the Shield Brethren) , skillful fighters who are heading towards Karakoram to kill Ogudai Khan, and on the way they must evade or fight Mongol warriors and other Christians, and make alliances with other individuals and groups. There's a pair of fighters who are employed to amuse another Mongol chief but who are considering changing sides to kill him, and there is the household of Ogudai Khan at Karakoram. He is continually drunk and losing his grip on reality, because he longs for the simple life on the open plains rather than managing a retinue of sycophants, but his behaviour is losing him the respect of all who know him. Ogudai's brother has sent a young warrior (Gansuk) to Karakoram with instructions to limit the Coggin's drinking; he is being schooled in the ways of life at court by a pretty Chinese slave, who would like to escape but is worried about what would happen to Gansuk. Each of these strands is telling an interesting story, but all the characters are still in the middle of their exploits, none of them has come to a point of conclusion or achievement when the book suddenly ends, so the reader is left with an enormous cliff-hanger!
The narrator is very good at putting different voices to the many characters, and this helps to add colour to the narrative.
I'm very much looking forward to the next parts of the trilogy, and hope it won't be too long a wait.
Boggy of Bucks
I was dubious about a book co-written by several authors but I am familiar with and love the work of Neal Stephenson so gave it a shot. There is some merit to the story but not much. It does not have the believable historic credibility that Stephenson's Cryptonomicon has. The characterisation is very weak and leads to no feeling of empathy or interest in the outcome of the characters' actions.
I think I detected Stephenson's hand in the description of some of the fighting - he is masterful when describing the technique of swordplay and the detail of the equipment. Apart from that, it was all pretty hum drum, long-winded and wearisome.
Interesting lifestyle saga about the Mongoloids. Historical fiction. Starts to fill in a details of a forgotten and unrecorded time.
Well woven storyline.
"Good story - but"
This is a really good story with interesting characters. It gives an insight into what people must have felt when faced with the news that the Mongols were coming. I have to take two stars off for the way the story just stops in the middle. It's not really even a cliff hanger, no one climbed a cliff, they were just telling the story and stopped. I think marketing is getting in the way of art here. I'll by the second book because I have faith in the writers and like the production but it's not a strong faith. I'll let you know.
I think anyone who purchased this book should get the next part free, if they want. It didn't come to any conclusion at ALL. I mean did they just run out of paper or was it only suppose to be so many pages long. I'm am used to fantasy names , but this book was extremely hard to follow. Don't waste your time.
I have listen to other books by multible aurthors (like the Choplin Manuscript = excellent) but this one just did not click.
I like Luke Daniel's voice but he can't do anything for a bad story to begin with.
"Book By Committee"
See my remarks below. I expected much more from this book -- or should it be "project"?
The dialogue was much too 21st century colloquial in far too many places. While I hate deliberately archaic dialogue, I really don't think anyone in the 13th century in Russia would be saying "OK".
The ending of the book seemed to be simply "we've run out of ideas for the moment, we'll publish the next one when we think of more things to write".
The narrator was adequate but not inspired. His flat, rather nasal Midwestern twang sorted oddly with the nationalities of the characters. He also mispronounced a number of fairly basic words
I guess it is if you are a youngish, male, computer gamer who likes stories which are mainly full of gore and dead people. Fights/battles rehearsed in excruciating detail; most characters fairly cardboard. Not up to Neal Stevenson's standard if compared to Cryptonomicon or the Baroque Cycle.
Books written by a committee rarely if ever seem to jell. Raised on Harold Lamb's "March of the Barbarians", which not only told the saga of the Mongolian invasions but caught the atmosphere and flavor of both the Middle Ages and the Far East, this seemed to lack purpose and direction. Could see it marketed as a "dungeons and dragons" computer game in future.
Stevenson is on record as saying that this sort of "interactive" project is the way he thinks books are going to go in the internet age. I disagree, sadly. He's better on his own [sometimes; of late he seems to just churn stuff out, alas.]
I found it to be written a little too much like they are expecting it to be a screen-play. I would have liked less predictable story lines and more developed characters.
How predictable it was. The foreshadowing was a little too complete. The book contains a grand concept delivered so simply that I was left wanting a lot more depth.
His performance was the only thing that kept me listening on a very long drive.
Well yes, the series is obviously incomplete.
I love the concept of the book. Many of its individual characters are very interesting, and I still think on their personalities and choices. I feel that some of the ethereal themes of the book were squeezed out of the way so it would appeal to the masses who watch Game of Thrones.
"Not the Best"
Having listened to Conn Iggulden"s books on the subject, I was expecting a good interpretation of the mongol story by other authors, perhaps with a fantasy twist.
The research may have been good. But the writing was at best mediocre; there was no actual character development; and the reading was also mediocre. As a final insult, the book just ended, without polish or attempt to bring it to any conclusion. Maybe there was a planned next in a series; but if so, I will never know. Overall, my recommendation is to read or listen to Iggulden's far superior books and not waste the credit.
"Ran Out of Story, Stay Tuned..."
Disappointing and abrupt end to this work. The authors did not have the forethought to wrap up the story lines. It appeared as if they hit their contracted number of words per work and decided that was it, we'll finish this up (maybe?) in book #2. The story lines were interesting and imaginative, but poor ending. I expected more out of these authors.
"If Stephenson wasn't listed, would you read it?"
I bought this because Stephenson was the first listed author, and I like his other work. The setting of this book is foreign to me-perhaps if I had more knowledge of the Mongol Empire I would have found it a better read.
Stephenson's participation is difficult to detect, and there is some downright painful writing in here. For example (I don't know the exact quote and can't be bothered to backtrack and get the exact quote) there is a section in which a priest is talking to the Pope. The simile used is something like "life had been wrung from him like juice is wrung from a grape." Who wrings a grape?
I speculate that the breaking of this story into several volumes is an effort to obtain more money by encouraging serial purchases. I will not follow this story further, there are too many other good books to listen to.
"Too many Cooks"
Too many cooks spoil the soup. An old and true cliche that fits both the kitchen and writing books. Matter of fact few duets work well, with Preston and Child being the exception.
I am fascinated by all things Chinese. As a Sci-Fi fan and a fantasy fan, I find the Chinese past and present to be the fantasy for real. The are real, but so different from western society. I loved Conn Iggulden's Khan series and was hoping this would be a continuation of that. I am also a big fan of the game Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This seems to fit the time period between Ghengis and Romance.
This started out alright, but by the end I was bored out of my gord. There are some fight scenes in this that take hours to play out. There is no character development. There are no George R. R. Martin surprises.
I hope that one good writer takes up this project, cause I would like to hear the story and then I would really like to see a modern writer rewrite Romance of The Three Kingdoms. There are lots of exciting material that a writer could make a career out of it.
Narrator had a tough job with lots of characters to portray. He did make each one distinct although I doubt that the Khan spoke through his teeth 24 hours a day. The narration which is the biggest part of the book was very lack luster.
"Heavy and dull"
The collection of writers of this book attracted me. I have generally avoided books by committee but thought, with these writers, this might be interesting and I was attracted by the sale price. I would have been better off not bothering.
The central idea, that a group of warriors might ride off to try to stop the Molgol invasion by assassinating Ogedei Kahn, seemed like a reasonable plot, but I personally found the writing stuffy, boring and reeking of too much of a fantasy novel. It might have been the underlying assumption of a great world-wide conspiracy in a time when getting a message from one part of Europe to another took months, or it might have been the secret society names without any explanation as to what they were, or it might just have been that this book was not for me. I don't know, but I ended up abandoning the effort about half way through the first part.
While I thought the plot was plodding and uninteresting I have to say that the performance was first class. Luke Daniels did such a wonderful job of narrating that I could tell one character from another just by the voice. It did not make the characters any more interesting for me, but he did a first class job and that should be mentioned.
It was not a total loss. I did learn one thing - that I need to stop buying Audible books just because they are on sale at a terrific price.
"Such a Disappointment"
Being Hungarian in heritage, I always try historical books that incorporate that heritage.I don't know much about the Mongolian invasion and was hoping this first novel might touch on that. It doesn't. That's OK. The actual storyline, as written, is very confusing.
There is no clear individual to get to know and like. Nor is there a real villian to dislike. Too many undeveloped characters with seemingly disconnected plots. It seems like each author was assigned a character and tried to develop action scenes for that character. Then the editor smashed the storylines together like mashed potatoes. Thus, the story wanders across this book like the Mongols did across the steppes.
Yet there is enough to keep me going. I have Book 2 and will continue there hoping things get better.
Luke Daniels as a narrator is just as effective as the book is written. Just meh.
Not horrible but not great. Just average.
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