Khan: Empire of Silver by Conn Iggulden

(Cover picture courtesy of Barnes and Noble.)

The thunder of 100,000 hooves.

It is the middle of the thirteenth century.  One of the most extraordinary military empires in history is riding high.  But its architect, the Great Khan, Genghis, is dead…

The lightning flash of arrows without number.

Fearful that he cannot match his father’s great deeds, the new Khan turns his gaze to Russia, and beyond…

A great new power is on the march.  Who will stand against it?

What will happen when the storm from the east meets the stone walls and steel plate of the west?  Can the legend and legacy of Genghis Khan live on?

In some ways, I miss the character of Genghis Khan.  His presence was keenly felt, even when Conn Iggulden switched to the points of view of secondary characters and he was so wonderfully ruthless.  He was a horrible human being, but in fiction, he was most definitely a memorable character.  Now that he’s dead and his sons and grandsons take turns backstabbing each other, it’s just not the same.  However, there was one thing I really loved about Empire of Silver: Sorhatani.

Sorhatani, the wife of Tolui, was only briefly mentioned in Bones of the Hills but now she takes centre-stage in the second half of Empire of Silver.  I won’t reveal the reason for this, but let’s say that it has something to do with what her husband does out of loyalty for his older brother.  It’s tragic, but Sorhatani rises to the challenge of being a strong female leader in an empire lead exclusively by men.  She really is an amazing character, as is the somewhat tragic Tsubodai, who killed his young friend Jochi on Genghis’ order in Bones of the Hills.

As for the plot, it’s Conn Iggulden: you know it’s going to be fast-paced.  As for accuracy, at least he resisted the urge to change too much around.  He manages to show the points of views of many different characters, but it doesn’t really feel like head-hopping because he knows when it becomes too much for the reader.  Instead, he uses the changing points of view to move the story forward, which is how they should be used.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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