HISTORY Conn Iggulden vividly portrays the fall of an empire. P. PRASANNA
Author: Conn Iggulden
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs. 299
Conn Iggulden’s Conqueror isn’t the kind of plot many would find easy to follow; mainly because of its connection with the history of Mongolia. It is one of the few nations which had its glorious years but unfortunately somewhere during the middle of the magnificent journey, their whole kingdom was shattered and buried. It is said that the Mongols ruled the world like the Greeks did but their dominance never saw any good reason to survive as it fell like a pack of cards.
As far as Conn Iggulden is concerned, he has done a great deal of research about Mongolia and come up with four great novels about the kingdom. Conqueror is the latest release by the author and probably the last in the Conqueror. Generally this particular genre, historical -fiction isn’t as easy as many may think, it isn’t easy to handle because some good amount of time for research is required. Unlike any other genre, careful and devoted study of history is important for a novel to take shape. Con Iggulden has done an awesome work by carefully amalgamating both history and fiction and also carefully instigating the readers towards history.
Conqueror is about Kublai Khan, grandson of Gengis Khan. The novel opens with the whole country waiting for the new Khan to be selected but like in all royal empires, this huge empire set up by Genghis Khan too faces a crisis while selecting the immediate successor to the throne. Much of the novel deals with this, and finally it is Gyuk (one of the cousins of Kublai Khan) who takes up the tough task of running the kingdom. But, Gyuk is dethroned mainly because of the authoritative manner even towards his loyal commanders. Mongke (brother of Kublai Khan) takes control of the nation.
The novel is filled with violence and bloody wars, and the author isn’t trying to exaggerate because what he has done is to depict the truth. By reading the novel one can easily understand how some of the rulers like Mongke Khan were crude and violent towards their neighbouring nations. Mongke gives clear instructions to one of his brothers, Hulegu to extract as much gold as possible from Baghdad and orders his other brother Kublai Khan to conquer China. This novel shows the Mongols at the height of their power and also explains their fall; the author clearly explains how violence alone paved the way for their fall.
Prasanna is a M.A. student at Loyola College.
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