Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden

A fantastic work of historical fiction by Conn Iggulden, detailing the journey of the man known as Temujin as he unites the various Mongol tribes and becomes the conqueror history would know as Genghis Khan. Iggulden has done a lot of research, including a trip to Mongolia, and he seems to have captured the Mongol "vibe" pretty well. Most of the main characters are fully realized, and the steppe atmosphere is amazingly well detailed. You can almost put your hands around the power of Temujin's personality as more and more people join his cause, and the inevitable and foregone conclusion to the story still manages to feel tense with uncertainty.

A good companion to this book would be a viewing of Sergei Bodrov's movie epic, Mongol, if only to firmly solidify the imagery of the steppes and the look of the Mongols themselves for the reader. The film has a slightly different interpretation of Temujin's rise, and is remarkable in its own right, but doesn't change the fact that Iggulden's book is a real keeper.

Highly recommended, and I look forward to checking out the two sequels.