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On the Trail of Genghis Khan

An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads
By: Tim Cope
Narrated by: Philip Rose
Length: 18 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Summary

Guided by a Kazakh aphorism - "To understand the wolf, you must put the skin of a wolf on and look through its eyes" - adventurer Tim Cope undertook a journey not successfully completed since the days of Genghis Khan: He traveled by horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from the ancient capital of Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary.

It was an incredible six-thousand-mile, three-year-long trip across formidable landscape - and into the heart of the nomadic way of life that dominated this region for thousands of years, transforming Western Europe through its conquering armies. Cope’s trek takes him through wolf-infested plateaus, over glaciers and the subzero “starving steppe,” the scorching Kazakh desert, and the deep forests and treacherous mountains of the Carpathians.

Alone except for a trusty dog (and a succession of thirteen horses, many stolen from him along the way), he encounters incredible hospitality from those who welcome him along the way, a tradition that is the linchpin of human survival on the steppe. Immersed in the land and its people, Cope is witness to the rich past and often painful complexities of the present still recovering from Soviet rule. On the Trail of Genghis Khan is a celebration and an elegy for the nomadic way of life - its freedom, its closeness to the land, its animals, and moods - and a narrative full of romance, intelligence, and drama.

©2013 Tim Cope (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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WOW

If you could sum up On the Trail of Genghis Khan in three words, what would they be?

This is amazing

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tigon the dog, well described and Tigon amonst the many characters that Tim encounters is the one that most closely resembles Tims spirit.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book evoked a wonderlust that I last felt when reading 'the long way round' that time I went out, bought a motorcycle and spent the next few years travelling. This time I am wiser so no horse. Inspirational, thanks Tim.

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Whats next

3 people found this helpful

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Utterly stunning

Any additional comments?

I thought this was an absolutely fantstic book. Tim Cope manages to intertwine his adventure with an ethnography of the people and history of the land in a seamless and engaging way.

I was also blown away by his bravery. He states at one point that he didn't consider his journey dangerous before he set out. Call me neurotic but the danger of the journey was one of the first things that struck me. He truly puts his life in the hands of the people he meets along the way and in doing so gains a deep insight into their lives and the lives of many nomads before him.

I also found the story to be a bit of a tear jerker at times. Cope's frank honesty about his emotions and experiences really helps you to see the journey as he saw it. He really takes you along for a ride.

First class. I highly recommend it.

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Super

Great listening. Well done all. Loved the ending, so sad about his dad :-(
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So vivid that I felt like I was having an adventur

Vivid storytelling, great narrating and overall a really enjoyable audiobook. It speaks volumes in that I was both so jealous of the adventurer and that I listened to the book over the course of a week. Made me want to immediately book a holiday to Mongolia, but I settled for booking a horse trekking holiday in the Carpathians with my daughter instead. All because of this book. Thoroughly fascinating and educational as well. Loved it!

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Great book spoilt by the reader

This is a long book and I have to say that I really struggled to get to the end of it - I ended up skipping long sections of history tuition. My problem was the narration - it was something like an early 1960's documentary - had I listened to the sample before purchasing I would probably have chosen a different book but the reviews are generally incredibly positive. Given that Tim Cope is Australian, I think an Australian reader would have been much better.
That said, Tim Cope's journey is pretty epic - having got to the end of the book I watched a couple of short documentaries of him on youtube - I wish I had done this before listening to the book as I think it would have changed my feelings considerably.

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Enjoyable and inspiring

I very much enjoyed listening to this audio book, though found it hard to follow the journey, presumably there is a map in the book.

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  • David Shear
  • 28-04-14

Fascinating, inspiring story

I discovered this book when I attended the traveling version of the Banff Film Festival, which is all about "outdoor" themed films and literature. This book won several awards, and it deserved them.
Tim Cope is a writer who takes this journey, not a dude who stumbles through the desert and then writes about it. The fact that he is a writer makes this book good. The fact that it is such a personal story makes it great.
This story is raw. Cope is super passionate about the nomads and the countries he visits. He really puts everything on the line for this experience.
I loved how he writes about the people he meets, his relationships with his animals, and his personal life. He also throws in a lot of historical facts about the regions he visits. The great thing is how they all work together. Some of the topics, like what the horses eat every day, could get dry, but he mixes it up with the other topics and it all just comes together so fluidly.

The narrator only gets three stars because he's way too dry. Cope's passion, and fears, and joys were sometimes lost in this reading. I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I'd read it instead of listening to it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 28-04-14

Great trip

Any additional comments?

Book offers a lot and you sort of feel like having been there in person by its end. Places like Kazakhstan are blank spaces for me and following Tim's detailed itinerary with Google Maps I now have a permanent mental map and "experience" for this part of central Asia. It's more than a travelogue also a fair amount of history both recent and ancient. Also some anthropological aspects, love and death, a story of animals .. has a lot to offer and well worth it for anyone seeking a modern journey off the beaten track.

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  • Theresa
  • 29-09-18

Excellent!

I really enjoyed this book. As a bit of a nomad myself, I learned so much about the history of the people and the region. There can be no adventure greater than a real one!

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  • Masha N
  • 02-08-18

Fascinating journey but awful narration

The entire book was read in a monotone voice, reminiscent of narration in 50s public service educational videos. The reader has absolutely no background in Russian language or culture and butchered Russian words and names in the story, which was written by someone who is fluent in Russian. The writing was a little dry as well, but it was the especially the narrator’s performance which made me anxious for the described journey to end.

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  • Jairo
  • 05-02-18

I felt immersed in the steppes

This adventure is filled very wonderfully with history and personal details in just the right amount.

It has its plot twist and the important characters (Tygon) for the psychological health of the author and, of course, for the reader.

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  • John Thomas McLarty
  • 10-04-16

Epic journey,well told

Cope writes a grand sweeping tale of ancient history and contemporary adventure. He underplays the obvious physicality of the challenges presented by severe weather extremes focusing more on the human challenges and thus painting a vivid picture of post-Soviet social misery in the outer regions of the former Soviet Union. The story is compelling.

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  • James
  • 20-03-16

Audiobook is a must

Tried to read paperback but was quite long and dragged a lot, the audiobook version helps with this a lot and gets you smoothly over some of the humps of an otherwise amazing story.

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  • K Nelson
  • 17-12-15

Trailing Genghis with Tim Cope

An excellent book. I really think this is the best non-fiction I've read this year. Tim Cope gives well rounded observations on everything from his daunting personal experiences to local culture plus regional politics.

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  • Kate Fitzgerald
  • 09-10-15

Excellent!

Not only a classic type take, but also a rip-roaring good read. I loved it.

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  • Gretchen
  • 20-03-15

My favorite so far

Great story and even better characters. You want to miss this largest than life epic. It has some great historic tidbits too.