In the aftermath of the Mongolian invasion of 1241, beleaguered Christians struggle with the presence of a violent horde and a world turned upside down. Apocalyptic fever sweeps through Europe, infecting even the most rational individuals, leaving all to wonder if they are seeing the end times - or an hour when new heroes will emerge from the ruins of cataclysmic defeat.
An order of warrior monks, the Shield-Brethren, refuses to yield, plotting to overthrow the invaders despite insurmountable odds. Father Rodrigo Bendrito receives a prophecy from God and believes it's his mission to deliver the message to Rome. Along with the hunter Ferenc, orphan Ocyrhoe, healer Raphael, and alchemist Yasper, Rodrigo sets out to reclaim Europe. But to save Christendom, someone must slay the fierce Khan of Khans.
Brimming with intrigue and colorful characters, The Mongoliad: Book Two is a riveting, expertly rendered tale about the will to survive.
©2012 FOREWORLD LLC (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Flawed but fascinating"
Many reviews of Book I of "The Mongoliad" were lukewarm at best. I like these stories more than some readers seem to, but agree that some of the complaints are valid and apply to this Book 2.
Complaint 1: variations on the theme of "rambling," "choppy," "no ending." All true. The books move between different characters and storylines and jump from one cliffhanger to another without a lot of closure. The first book ends abruptly, and the second book picks up with two new characters in a totally new location and storyline (Rome in the aftermath of Pope Gregory IX's death). But the Book I storylines do return (we DO find out what happened beyond the red veil) and I remain intrigued, even though I suspect some details got dropped along the way.
Complaint 2: "No characterization." Somewhat agree, but it doesn't bother me in this action-packed adventure. I agree there is no deep backstory for most of the characters, and there are so many characters (often with unfamiliar names) that it's easy to get them confused. I found the Mongol characters--the Khan and his entourage in the Mongolian capital--to be more fleshed out than the Europeans.
Complaint 3: "Too much detailed description of fighting." Somewhat agree. Medieval ninjas. But the authors are upfront about the fact that an interest in medieval fighting styles got them into the story in the first place.
Complaint 4, "book by committee." I disagree, I think the voice is consistent throughout.
Complaint 5. "Boring, too much history, hard to follow the history." This is where I'm on a different page. My interest in and knowledge of history has been spurred and enhanced by novels such as this one. I was relatively unfamiliar with this particular era and set of events beforehand. I was fascinated by the events described in the book, which inspired me to do a fair amount of outside reading. I learned a lot.
There is conversation you can read on Amazon between George R. R. Martin ("Game of Thrones" guy, just in case you didn't know) and Bernard Cornwell, author of many historical novels include the "Sharpe's Rifles" series about the Napoleonic Wars. They talk about (1) the close kinship of epic fantasy and historical fiction and (2) the way books and characters seem to "drive" themselves, so that an author him/herself is often caught by surprise by the direction a storyline or character takes. I think "The Mongoliad" is a case in point for both of these assertions.
"An already dense story is reaching critical mass"
If you've read part 1, then get ready to have very little of the characters you've grown attached to. A new plot line involving the Pope, a deranged priest, and Vatican shenanigans dominates this rather ill-paced sequel. Since I've already spent this much time on it, I'm somewhat obliged to listen to part 3, which I'm hoping has a bit more oomph to it.
"Good, not spectacular"
As suspected, the second book basically picks up right where the first one inexplicably and suddenly stopped. I truly believe these were written as one book and just chopped up by the publisher into three. This book does add another fun story line and continues the previous story lines from book quite nicely.
My comments from the first book, i.e. writing by committee, turns of phrase, number of languages spoken by the characters, still hold true for this book. (See my review of the first book).
Overall, it's still a fun historical fiction story to listen to and I'm enjoying it. I've already moved straight into book three.
The Mongoliad : Book one of THE FOREWORD SAGA was the best so far. I listened to it twice just for the joy of it. Book two is very good also. I am looking forward to book three. Well worth the credit or money not to mention the treat of the adventure . Enjoy
I am now officially hooked. It has been a good while since I listened to book one. Can't wait to move on in the series.
Yes. It is gripping, thought provoking and very visual.
All of the characters were engaging and deep
Great story. Very intricate and suspenseful.
"All Action, No Story"
Book 2 is all action with very little story. I was thrill to get through the first book, but with this book, it was just okay. It seems like there was a chunk of story, missing. Hoping the story get on track in the next book. This story of the saga was overwhelming with too much fighting. It was a bit of a let down because I wanted to know more of the background of the Mongoliads. It was still a decent read and looking forward to the next one.
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