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Wolf of the Plains - Conn Iggulden

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Author: Conn Iggulden / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 08 July 2010 / Genre: Historical Fiction / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: Wolf of the Plains / ISBN 13: 9780007353255 / ISBN 10: 0007353255

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    7 Reviews
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      04.10.2009 01:38
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      An excellent read

      Conn Iggulden, author of the excellent "Emperor" series turns his attention to the incredible story of Genghis Khan in "Wolf Of The Plains", the first of the "Conqueror" trilogy.

      The story of how Temujin, thrown out of his tribe and left to starve on the Mongolian Plains with his family, became Genghis Khan, ruler of a dynasty that would one day hold sway over a quarter of the Earth's land area, is not often told.

      Iggulden tells the tale in vivid style, bringing the characters to life and recreating the era in stark clarity. We feel the bitter betrayal as Temujin's father is assassinated and the young family abandoned. We feel the desperation and loneliness as the family battle for survival in the bleak Mongolian Winter. And ultimately we share in the sense of righteous victory as they seek revenge on those who have wronged them and the young tribe blossoms.

      Iggulden is one of the finest writers of historical fiction around and his true strength here, as in the "Emperor" series, lies in bringing the bloody battles to the life. The fights are described in gloriously gory techni-colour, leaving little to the readers' imagination.

      Also, the lack of subtlety in his story telling may be a problem for some readers, as his blunt, fast-moving style leaves little room for analysis or in-depth conversation, and this makes some of the lesser characters slightly one dimensional.

      Another source of criticism is the historical inaccuracies within the book. However, this is slightly pedantic as this is a work of fiction and Iggulden actually follows the fairly sketchy details of Genghis' background quite closely. Some readers, like myself, not only will be keen to read the next two volumes after finishing this book, but will also want to find out more about the true story of Genghis Khan. This is a real tribute to Iggulden's accessible style of writing.

      In conclusion, this is an entertaining and engrossing historical thriller, shedding light on one of the most influential characters in mankind's history and is well worth a read.

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      30.09.2009 22:53
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      Really good read it, love it get the trilogy:)

      Read a few chapters of this book and you will be hooked. The story centres around the life and times of Gengis Khan during which you discover the story of his life and how he came to be Kahn. i have read a large number of historical books and sometimes find they drag a little...

      The facts within this book are largely true Conn has had to imagine dialogue and relationships for obvious reasons but you can still learn a great deal about Gengis Khans younger life.

      The style of writing makes these books very accessible and reads like a thriller and a work of fiction despite being largely historically correct. I really couldn't put this book down. I am fairly confident that if you read this you will be seeking out the next in the trilogy to discover the outcome and how Genghis's life plays out.

      I don't want to go into the plot in great detail but again feel this book is a great read for most people and if you like thrillers, fast paced fiction then this is a must but be prepared to dedicate the next few weeks reading all three....

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      12.06.2009 21:10
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      the life of Ghengis Kahn

      There are few names that reach across history and still have the capacity to cause a shiver of fear and apprehension but Ghengis Kahn is certainly one of them. Lets face it, these days not many people actually know why he has that ability to create this feeling and to most he probably does little more than conjure up images of a tribe of men riding across the plains of the Steppes creating chaos and a considerable amount of bloodshed. But the problem with history, particularly of this period, it was written by the people with the ability to write, and in this particular case, most of the evidence of Ghengis Kahn's life comes from the documents left by the victims of his most famous victory the Chin empire and surprisingly enough - they didn't like him very much!

      Wolf of the Plains by Conn Igullden chronicles the life of the young boy Temujin up until the point that he unites the mongol tribes just prior to the attack of the Chin empire. At the end of the book, Temujin looks out across a huge sea of people, never have so many been seen together on the Plains and he is Kahn (king) of them all, the mongol word for ocean is Ghengis so it was at this point that he took on the infamous name. But the journey to that point is so politically entwined and full of action that you can do little else but marvel at what he achieved.
      Temujin was born the second son of the kahn of a mongol tribe called the wolves and the book opens with almost a romantic image of a group of brothers growing up in this harsh environment, but the first story isn't that of any great battle, one of the brothers had spotted eagles nesting high above the plain and eagles were of great benefit to the tribes for hunting. So the brother scaled the mountain, to collect the young eagles from their nest. Iggulden hooked me completely at this point as the description of their 2 day climb is so far removed from anything anyone would even consider attempting now and was completely engaging.

      Then due to a change in circumstance, their father, the kahn dies and they are cast out from their tribe, if this hadn't happened, I very much doubt that Temujin would have received any of the infamy that he has. As a family left alone on the plains, with no tools for hunting would not survive the first winter, but they did and believe me what happened next is well worth buying, or borrowing the book to find out.
      My real problem after reading the book was to admit to myself that, given the harsh period that he was in where bloodshed was very much a way of life. I actually liked him, he is a man of honour, he would give people a way out, but only once and in his early life every act of violence that he committed had a just cause. His first kill was his elder brother Bekter (possibly half brother the parentage was in doubt) but not for any reason relating to power, it was to ensure the survival of his family as in the days just after being cast out of the tribe they were close to starving but Bekter was finding food and eating it alone then still partaking of his share of the pittance the others had found.

      As with any historical novel, it is essentially written to read as a piece of fiction and there have been characters omitted completely or changed slightly to ease the flow of the story but it has been very thoroughly researched and given the passage of time and the evidence available it is probably pretty close to as accurate as you are going to get in the present day, I have since watched some of the sky history channel documentaries about him and they match very closely to the book. But the real genius of the book is how the action and the historical story bind together to create a real page turner.
      This book isn't for everyone, some of the violence is narrated in very explicit detail and there is plenty of action and gore. My husband was chatting to one of his work colleagues who mention that he was reading the series to which hubby said 'my wife is as well' which received a somewhat shocked response that it is not a girly book and it isn't, but anyone with a sense and interest of history who can admire military achievement should read this, Ghengis Kahn united a nation that had been warring since the beginning of civilisation then went on to defeat a large part of the known world.

      The story continues in this series of books with the 'Lords of the Bow' and 'Bones of the Hills' all of which are very widely available in bookshops and libraries.
      Thank you for reading.

      Mary

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      09.06.2009 10:50
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      A really great book, part one of an equally great trilogy

      Beginning of the Conquer series, Wolf of the Plains shows the adventurous childhood of Temujin, who is more famously known as Genghis Khan. This story begins with Temujin as a 10/11yr old boy whose father is Khan of the tribe. He has 3 brothers, one older and 2 younger and a baby sister. Temujins father is killed and his family are banished from the tribe by the new Khan. They are forced to scavenge a living on the unforgivable Mongolian plains. Life is hard and made no easier by Temujins older brother who is only out to help himself. Temujin takes it on his shoulders to look after his Mother, baby Sister and 2 younger Brothers. This story sets the tale of how Genghis Khan was born, how one man and his ambitions can do great things.
      Genghis creates a new tribe and seeks to revenge all those who wronged him.

      This book is set in the harsh land of Mongolia, you are introduced to a harsh life where survival of the fittest is the law. Childhood is short and men are made or killed and even the women are strong. This book shows how Genghis Khan (meaning Khan of the Sea of Grass) has his vision to create one tribe to unite and take on the powerful Chin, to stop their oppression and become independent of all those around them.

      A must for Genghis Khan fans or anyone interested in history. Conn Iggulden is a wonderful Author who has the ability to make the unreachable historical figures real and easier to understand/connect with. They are educational and the descriptions are plentiful helping you to get completely sucked in to battle scenes or just general tribe life.

      I would recommend this book, it delivers, is well written and hard to put down. The battle/fight scenes can be a bit gory but that's to be expected.

      I have tried not to give too much away as I really would recommend reading these books. I dont want to ruin the story line too much!

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        16.09.2008 21:11
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        Beautifully written book that takes you through the early life of Genghis Khan

        ****I apologise in advance for the terrible spelling!!****

        I've just finished reading "Wolf of the Plains" and have thoroughly enjoyed it. After reading lots of historical novels recently my dad suggested that I read this book about the early life of Genghis Khan.

        Born second son to the Khan of the wolves, Yesugi, a strong tribe in the harsh lands of Mongolia, Temujin (young Ghengis) and his brothers are respected by the men of his father's tribe and are earmarked to become bondsmen or possibly Khan of the tribe as they grow up.

        As part of their growing up rituals the boys are sent to spend a year (when their father feels they are ready) with a neighbouring tribe - the Olkhun'ut (not sure on spelling), their mother's tribe. The idea is to spend time with the family of the girl chosen to be his wife. Early on in the book, Yesugi sends Temujin on his year with the tribe.

        We follow Temujin through his trials as he learns what it means to be a Khan's son and show the cold face no matter how hard things get for him.

        Fate stops Temujin spending too much time with his mother's tribe, as he is called back to his dying father's side.

        I don't want to ruin the story by telling you everything that happens as the drama unfolds. It is such a well written book, the characters unfold so beautifully full of charisma and well, character! Temujin is strong, caring and dutiful. His mother is an amazing strong woman who watches her sons grow up with real verve.

        The scenery is described so beautifully and you can feel the cold, dangerous world that the family face as they try to make Temujin's dreams of unity happen.

        I loved the book so much, the day I finished reading it I went out and bought the next one!

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          28.07.2008 13:37
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          You won't want to put it down!

          The Book Itself was the first book I had read in many years. From the get go you are in the world of Genghis Kahn, the harsh land that is Mongolia.

          It is a place where straying too far from your camp is a daring thing but that's exactly the first thing we see Temujin (Young Genghis) and his 4 brothers (Bekhter, Khasar, Khajiun and Temulge) doing. They are climbing a great hill to catch one of the legendary birds of their tribe to prove they are men and worthy of their fathers crown.

          Temujin is the son of his Mongol tribe's (The 'Wolfs') leader Yesughi, a powerful man successful in life and a brilliant warrior. His father is faced with the hard choice of choosing an heir because although Temujin is not the eldest son (second eldest) he appears to show the most promise out of all of them.

          Unfortunately, on the return trip from delivering his son to a local tribe with the hope of finding him a wife Temujin's father is killed in an ambush by tartar assassins, without their father to protect them Yesughi's first kinsman Eeluk takes control of the tribe. He is worried his former masters sons with contest his leadership and so banishes the family leaving them to die in the baron wasteland with no food or possessions.

          Unfortunately it is not only enemies from other tribes Temujin must be aware of, he must also look closer to home for those plotting against him...Temujin must lead his brothers along with him mum Hoelun and baby sister Temulun through tough times in order to avenge his fathers death.

          Fast paced action combined with detailed explanations keeps the reader engrossed. By the end you know each character inside out and can see how each brother is developing his own style in both combat and interacting with others to get their feelings heard.

          Although the book is fundamentally fictional, Conn has clearly investigated Ghengis's past and history, and re-tells his story well and where he des stray from the truth he explains the differences in his authors notes at the end of the book. His source was the book The Secret History of the Mongols'.

          After reading the Emperor series I was worried he couldn't do it again, I didn't need to, brilliant start to the new set of novels and I couldn't wait for the second.

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            15.08.2007 21:27
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            The first of the Conqueror series

            At the age of just eleven, Temujin, the second son of the khan of the Wolves is sent to his mother's tribe to progress into adulthood. As his father returns from dropping him off he is killed in an ambush by a rival tribe. Temujin, his mother and brothers are thrown out of the tribe and left to starve on the Mongolian plains as winter approaches. Instead of giving in, Temujin and his brothers fight against starvation and become far more ruthless in the process. During this time Temujin dreams of uniting the tribes and bringing the Mongolian's together as one.

            After the success of Conn Iggulden's first series of books on the live and times of Julius Caesar, it was little surprise that another series wasn't far round the corner. This time the subject of Iggulden's focus and writing abilities is Genghis Khan. The challenge of following up on Rome's greatest leader with the most famous Mongolian would prove quite daunting to most, but Iggulden seems to have really taken it in his stride. Since I had really enjoyed the Emperor series I though this was a must read and certainly wasn't disappointed.

            In a similar vein too the Emperor books this first novel on the life of Genghis is really setting up the series and giving an insight into the future Khan. He keeps the events and timelines very similar to what actually happened during the first 18 years of Temujin's life. I think by using the real events and really bringing them to life with his own twists and turns is what really captivates me about Iggulden's writing and these series. Like the previous series it actually acts as a sort of history lesson, as well as enjoyable dose of escapism.

            I've found that although like the first book in his previous series, this book does take a little while to get in, you soon become hooked. Rather than let the books drift on, Iggulden carries the story at a decent pace, which means you are constantly turning the pages. I found it almost impossible on a number of occasions to actually put the book down. It certainly filled a great amount of time while I was in hospital and I was certainly glad of how addictive his writing is.

            As this is the first of another series, which will be at least 4 books like the Emporor series, it was important for Conn to create decent characters. I think wihtout failure he has done that with every single character he has created. With Temujin he is a lead character that although you know who he is destined to become you really do hope he survives all the challenges he faces along the way. By creating a sense of empathy with his lead characters, Iggulden ensures that you will read on, desperate to know how things turn out for them.

            In fact the same is true of all his lead characters. He creates a world where you really want to see certain people survive and succed within the story. Likewise there are an equal number of characters, such as the new head of the Wolf tribe that you hope to see endure a painful death. It's not just his characters that really stand out either. He seems to have a real ability to create a war scene and bring it to life. His descriptive writing is outstanding and one of the main reasons you'll keep turning the pages in this book.

            Overall while this is a very slow starter it is certianly worth sticking with. It suddenly changes into a very fast paced story, filled with action and war in the introduction to Genghis Khan's life. This is a good mix of Historical fact, with non fiction story telling that will not only entertain the reader but will also educate. Since the Emporor series, Iggulden's writing has certainly improved and that too adds to the appeal and readability of this book. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone, especially if you liked the Emporor series or are a fan of the likes of Bernard Cronwell.

            Amazon: £8.98
            Amazon Marketplace: £4.99
            www.conniggulden.com

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          • Product Details

            This is the brand new novel from the No.1 best-selling author of Emperor, his series on Julius Caesar. His new novel, Wolf of the Plains, is the much anticipated beginning of the Conqueror series on Genghis Khan and his descendants. It is a wonderful, epic story which Conn Iggulden brings brilliantly to life. I am the land and the bones of the hills. I am the winter. Temujin, the second son of the khan of the Wolves tribe, was only eleven when his father died in an ambush. His family were thrown out of the tribe and he was left alone, without food or shelter, to starve to death on the harsh Mongolian plains. It was a rough introduction to his life, to a sudden adult world, but Temujin survived, learning to combat natural and human threats. A man, a small family, without a tribe was always at risk but he gathered other outsiders to him, creating a new tribal identity. It was during some of his worst times that the image of uniting the warring tribes and bringing the silver people together came to him. He will become the khan of the sea of grass, Genghis.