I was left confused by both the story and the amount of new characters I was being introduced to. But I was fascinated by the historical aspect…and I was in need of an immersive escape.
The Mongoliad, Book One by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Treppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, Mike Grell
Published: September 25th 2012 by 47North
Format/Source: Purchased Kindle eBook with “Sinner”
Genre: Historical fiction, adventure
It is the spring of 1241. The Mongol takeover of Europe is almost complete. The hordes commanded by the sons of Genghis Khan have swept out of their immense grassy plains and ravaged Russia, Poland, and Hungary … and now seem poised to sweep west to Paris and south to Rome. King and Pope and peasant alike face a bleak future–until a small band of warriors, inheritors of a millennium-old secret tradition, conceive of a desperate plan to kill the Khan of Khans.Their leader, an elder of the order of warrior monks, will lead his elite group on a perilous journey into the East. They will be guided by an elusive and sharp-witted young woman, who believes the master’s plan is insane. But this small band is the West’s last, best hope to turn back the floodtide of the Mongol Empire.
Why I picked it up: Once upon a time, I watched a YouTube video from Sword and Laser where they interviewed 6 of 7 authors of The Mongoliad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_pkR… I was fascinated by it and consequently put it on my Goodreads’ “To Read” list. It was only somewhat recently that I bought all three books because of some Amazon Kindle Daily Deal. I recommend the YouTube video if you are curious about the book and the way it was written.
What’s it about, very quickly? In short, it is a collaborative, almost crowd-sourced literary experiment. It was originally released episodically on their website, but I read it all in its combined format. There are different story lines converging around the Mongol invasions of Europe. There is an ancient order of knights going on a quest to protect Europe, a Mongol solider tasked with curbing the Khan’s drinking, and slaves participating in a circus (read: Gladiator-type fighting).
My initial thoughts: At first, I was disappointed. I had read the bonus story “Sinner” which was explained as a prequel short story to the larger story. But I found there was little connection between “Sinner” and “The Mongoliad”. I was left confused by both the story and the amount of new characters I was being introduced to. Additionally, each chapter alternated between the different story lines, which can be very frustrating when you are not familiar with the characters or get too caught up with one story vs. another. But I was fascinated by the historical aspect…and I was in need of an immersive escape.
My conclusions: Once I got into the story, it was a lot of fun. I was no longer confused and I was curious to know what was going on. It is definitely a story that sucked me in, though I am not happy with how Book One finished. It just cut off. It was like the rest of the story failed to load. It is another case of there being multiple books just to do it. Maybe to get more money, maybe for space considerations, but certainly not for the sake of the story. I hope I can remember everything by the time I start reading Book Two.